Eco-Challenge honors scheduled May 14; major firms sign on Earth Day

Issue May 2008 By Jennifer Rosinski

The Massachusetts Bar Association and its Lawyers Eco-Challenge partner, the Conservation Law Foundation, will honor four law firms for exemplary leadership in greening the practice of law at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14, during a reception at the Salem Waterfront Hotel.

“It’s with great pleasure that the MBA honors those lawyers who took steps above and beyond those outlined in the MBA Green Guidelines and implemented their own unique ways of preserving the environment,” MBA President David W. White Jr. said. “These firms have taken it upon themselves to come up with new ways to practice with sustainability in mind. They are an example for all of us.”

The event, which will be held after the MBA’s House of Delegates meeting, will honor: Borchers, Ware & Guglielmo in Medway; Milton, Laurence & Dixon in Worcester; McRoberts, Roberts & Rainer LLP in Boston; and Modern Times Legal in Cambridge. All four firms have taken extraordinary steps to minimize their office’s impact on the environment.

More than 50 lawyers, firms and organizations from across the state that have signed the MBA Lawyers Environmental Pledge, which asks attorneys to implement the MBA Green Guidelines, will be recognized at the reception. The pledge was announced in January, four months after the MBA and the CLF launched the MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge and established the Energy and Environment Task Force.

“It is energizing to see our state’s legal community, from the largest to the smallest firms, taking action to become better environmental stewards by adopting common sense changes that will protect our environment and help combat global warming,” said CLF President Philip Warburg. “I hope that other Massachusetts professions will follow this great example so that, together, we can build a cleaner, healthier environment for future generations.”

Lawyers who sign up become pledge partners and agree to adhere to the guidelines, which offer suggestions for altering behaviors and updating products in eight areas of sustainability: energy conservation, paper reduction, recycling, greenhouse gas reduction, environmentally conscious purchases, sustainable practices, education and support for environmental conservation.

The most recent participants signed the MBA Lawyers Environmental Pledge on Earth Day, which was April 22: the Boston firms of Brown, Rudnick, Berlack, Israels LLP and Greenberg Traurig LLP. They join other major Boston firms, including Burns & Levinson, Holland Knight, Seyfarth Shaw and WilmerHale. The remaining signers include mid-sized and small firms as well as solo practitioners across the state.

According to Joseph F. Ryan, CEO of Brown Rudnick, “We are pleased to be a signature firm of the Lawyers Eco-Challenge. We applaud the MBA for raising awareness within the Massachusetts legal community of the need for environmental and energy conservation, and for taking definitive steps toward uniting local law firms against global warming.”

Brown Rudnick partner Nancy B. Reiner is co-chair of the MBA Energy and Environment Task Force, a group of more than one dozen attorneys working to further the MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge.

“We are very pleased with the steps the Massachusetts Bar Association has taken to encourage all firms in the state to do their part to be more environmentally friendly,” said Jay Farraher, shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Boston office. “The attorneys and staff in our Boston office have been working hard to do their part to conserve resources.”