by Tammy Carter, General Manager, and Dr. Carole Pettijohn, CaseFileXpress, LP
With all of the talk about “ green business”, it was inevitable that law offices would get caught up in the move toward more environmentally friendly practices. Law offices are massive consumers of paper and related printing/copying supplies. In a study done by GreenOrder, it was estimated that the average attorney is responsible for the use of 800 sheets of paper (nearly all 100% virgin pulp) and that the average law firm consumed about a ton of paper per attorney for its copying need (Makower, 2007). It has been estimated that a half ton of paper from production to recycling, results in the generation of about 9 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) – equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. (Disposal in a landfill results in an additional two more tons of such emissions per year.) The ABA instituted the Climate Challenge to increase awareness of the impact that the massive amounts of paper has on the environment. This has resulted in various suggestions for reducing the carbon footprint left by the legal profession. Most of the suggestions though are still based on the assumption that documents need to be printed and distributed in hard copy but one of the top ways the ABA suggests that you can go green is to “cut out the paper” (ABA, 2008). E-filing technologies enable law offices to reduce the amount of paper that needs to be printed, copied and distributed which in turns saves trees (and a provides a significant saving in their office supply budget improving their bottom line).