The drastic shift towards more sustainable practices has long been advocated for. Over the past few years, countless professions have made the changes necessary to achieve the goal of becoming eco-friendly. Some have been quicker to transition than others.
The legal industry is among those that have significantly fallen behind in a lot of advancements and revolutions. Being considered as much of a very traditional practice, legal establishments like law firms always lag. Now more than ever is a critical time to join the green movement. Fortunately, it shouldn’t be that difficult for the legal sector.
The Urgent Call
Over the past year, people have experienced countless unfortunate circumstances, with the global pandemic being the worst among them. However, another notable situation that defined the previous year was the global call to address the climate crisis.
Natural disasters have been increasing in strength and frequency over the years. 2020 was no different as some of the most destructive wildfires and costliest hurricanes ravaged other parts of the country. The demand for greener solutions significantly increased.
Treading the path to sustainability has never been more relevant, and everyone should be doing their part. The same holds true for the general legal industry. Here are some practices they should consider adopting to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis in their own way.
Allocating resources effectively is one of the most straightforward green solutions that the legal industry can take. While it’s understandable that significant lawsuits and trials should be settled in front of a judge, legal professionals should consider resolving less pressing conflicts outside the courtroom.
This can easily be done through alternative dispute resolutions like services for mediation and arbitration, which have also been proven to be more cost-effective. It might not seem like a big step towards sustainability, but the proper allocation of resources will add up.
Typical law firms are often perceived as offices piled to the top with paperwork. The legal industry should heavily consider embracing more technology when it comes to its operations. Going paperless is critical for the sector, especially given the sheer volume of documents it produces regularly.
Fortunately, the global pandemic forced countless industries to transition into the online realm, accelerating their digitization. The legal industry was not spared from this phenomenon. In fact, it has even propelled the sector to develop better legal technologies for the post-pandemic world.
One of the biggest counterarguments against incorporating more technology for law firms is that it can substantially increase energy consumption. Moreover, electricity also accounts for a majority of a particular establishment’s operating costs.
A simple way of addressing this issue is by investing in alternative sources of energy like solar power. While it can apply to all businesses, specifically, the legal industry should consider its mass movement towards the digital sphere.
Culture of Sustainability
Of course, the most apparent shift that should be done is reinventing the work environment of legal establishments. As the pandemic comes to an end and a return to the workplace is imminent, now is the perfect time to reevaluate how the workplace layout.
Law firms should consider all the tiny details, from adding more natural light to placing more trash bins throughout the workplace. There is a massive demand for office renovation to accommodate more sustainable solutions without having to sacrifice the functionality of the space.
Moreover, it’s also essential to promote a greener culture among legal professionals. Consider creating a green policy in the workplace that everyone should be encouraged to observe. Sustainability, after all, is also a shared responsibility.
The Future is Green
As the threat of the looming climate crisis becomes more apparent, every industry should begin thinking and acting appropriately to achieve a sustainable future. There is not enough time for the legal sector to be lagging, given the urgency of the matter.
The movement towards sustainability also proves to have significant benefits. Investing in greener solutions will not only help to reduce a particular firm’s carbon footprint, but it will also serve to be more cost-effective in the long run. It’s also been observed that employees and clients would prefer to engage with firms that promote eco-friendly practices.
There are still other factors to consider when it comes to transitioning into sustainability. Making this significant move isn’t as easy as it seems. However, these primary practices should be at the foundation of every legal establishment’s efforts. Every attempt, no matter how small, will add up to achieve a greener tomorrow.