When you're on the lookout for a personal injury lawyer, the biggest question is likely to be whether or not he or she can effectively handle your case (and whether or not you can afford his or her services). But if you're an environmentalist, you're probably also concerned about the social conscience of any lawyer you do business with. Lawyers have different opportunities to help the environment than, say, electrical contractors, so here are three things to look for in an eco-friendly personal injury law practice.
1. A focus on reducing waste
Having a "paperless" option for billing is a popular thing to do nowadays, but if that's as far as it goes, this could just be a token effort. Look for deeper efforts to reduce waste and increase sustainability, such as:
- Sourcing any paper used from sustainable and recycled-content sources
- Using a water filter instead of disposable water bottles
- Encouraging employees to use reusable items (such as coffee mugs instead of disposable cups)
- Recycling everything once it's used up
- Reusing paper whenever possible
These efforts, when made consistently, show that your lawyer actually cares about the effect his or her practice has on the Earth and isn't just offering a paperless option to provide clients with less cluttered mailboxes.
2. Pro bono work for environmental causes
For lawyers, the option to donate time to environmental causes is a huge chance to make a difference. Focusing the firm's efforts in this direction shows a real environmental conscience and can actually make a big difference for eco-friendly charities. This is something that a construction contractor or grocery store owner couldn't do, so it's especially critical that lawyers take up the fight in this arena.
3. Greening facilities and transportation
If your lawyer starts out with a very small practice, he or she may not have the budget allocated to build all-new eco-friendly facilities. However, choosing an eco-friendly building to rent in, or buying a facility and slowly replacing light bulbs and other relevant things, can demonstrate a real conscience about how the practice is affecting the Earth.
Greening transportation may be as simple as incentivizing carpooling for employees, buying company cars that run on sustainable fuel sources, or hosting a ride-your-bike-to-work day to raise awareness for alternative transportation methods.
Looking for these markers of a lawyer or firm with an ecological and social conscience can help you choose a lawyer who shares your passion for the environment. You'll be able to put your money to good use supporting a lawyer who will in turn help care for the earth.