Lawyers Journal

MBA forms Eco-Challenge Task Force; partners with Conservation Law Foundation

Massachusetts Bar Association President David W. White Jr. has announced the formation of the Energy and Environment Task Force, more than one dozen lawyers from across the state who will oversee the MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge.

Among the task force members is Susan M. Reid, a staff attorney and director of the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Change Initiative for the Conserva- tion Law Foundation in Boston. Reid will serve as co- chair of the task force along with Nancy B. Reiner, a partner at Brown Rudnick in Boston. CLF has agreed to collaborate with the MBA on the Eco-Challenge.

“I am so pleased that we are partnering with the Conservation Law Foundation to promote energy conservation and environmental conscious-ness among the Massachusetts legal community. The effort will combine the expertise of CLF with the broad member- ship of the MBA,” White said.

“Together, we can make a significant impact by reducing energy use and resource consumption.”
The Lawyers Eco-Challenge — One Planet, One Voice — was unveiled by White in September, when he took office for the MBA’s 2007-08 association year. The initiative urges lawyers to change their habits and busi- ness practices to preserve the environment.

CLF is New England’s leading legal advocacy organ-ization working to protect the region’s environment. In Massachusetts, CLF works with government, businesses and communities to develop solutions that reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

“The Eco-Challenge will provide the state’s legal community with a real opportunity to become leaders in the fight against global warming,” said CLF President Philip Warburg. “We are proud to partner with the Massachusetts Bar Association to create the tools and strategies law firms will use to reduce their carbon footprint and their overall impact on the environment.”

Reid’s work at CLF focuses on addressing the threat of global warming by promoting responsible new renewable energy development and energy efficiency and by pursuing initiatives to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Prior to joining CLF, Reid was the advocacy director for a local environmental organ-ization in southeastern Massachusetts and a litigation attorney at law firms including Goodwin Procter and Fenwick & West.

“I’m honored to be serving on the task force with a team of legal leaders dedicated to developing real, specific steps Massachusetts law firms and lawyers can take to reduce our impact on the environment and global warming,” Reid said. “The Eco-Challenge partnership between MBA and CLF is an exciting opportunity for two leading legal organizations to raise awareness and create change throughout the state for a greener, cleaner future.”

The task force is currently drafting Green Guidelines for lawyers and law firms that will be published later this fall.

Next year, the Eco-Challenge will begin. Lawyers and law firms will be asked to sign a pledge to implement the Green Guidelines. A list of all signers of the pledge will be posted on the MBA Web site and featured in its publications.

“By having the majority of firms and lawyers in the commonwealth sign onto the MBA pledge to increase energy efficiency, it will reduce our carbon footprint, set an example for other businesses to practice sustainability, help improve climate security, and save money on energy, even if the office space is leased,” Reiner said.

“Even simple practices, such as turning off computers at night and using high efficiency light bulbs, could have a major impact and would initially save law firms thousands of dollars,” she said.

Lawyers and law firms who can show they have made profound steps toward improvement, or have already taken significant steps toward conservation, will be honored with the Eco-Challenge Green Stamp of Approval in the spring.

“Lawyers need to become leaders in the fight against global warming,” White said. “I hope that the business of law will become a leader among all Massachusetts businesses by aggressively conserving energy, paper and other resources. I am proud that the lawyers of the Massachusetts Bar Association will be on the forefront of one of the most important environmental efforts of our generation.”

For more information on the initiative, visit MassBar.org.

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association