Ways to Green Your Law Office


Personal Productivity for Lawyers

This quick-start guide to Getting Things Done and Inbox Zero also includes two shortcuts for those who want the benefits of GTD without having to learn the system.

Cast aside the global warming debate (newsflash: it is happening), and focus on running your business in a more eco-friendly manner. Even if you can only dedicate yourself to one or two minor changes, they will add up over time, and help you save some money and the environment at the same time.

Go paperless

Converting to a paperless law office is not nearly as difficult as you think. It is relatively affordable, can make your office mobile, and definitely reduces office clutter. Admittedly, having a paperless office does not mean I do not print anything. A majority of my cases are in state court, so I still have to print copies for the court, and for opposing counsel.

At the same time, I am saving tons of paper but not keeping copies for myself, and not sending paper copies of everything to our clients. That translates to money saved in paper costs, printer costs, postage, and good ole Mother Earth.

Power switches

Unless you are planning on returning to your office late at night, turn everything off when you leave. Computers still suck power when they are “sleeping.” Sure, you might have to wait five minutes for it to boot up in the morning, but you have probably already checked your email on your PDA before then anyway.

Same things for lights. If you find yourself unable to switch off lights, consider installing motion sensors so they will turn themselves off.


Most office buildings have some form of recycling. If your office does not have it, then demand it. Throwing away recyclable items is lazy, wasteful, and just stupid.

Stop using bottled water

Probably the most popular non-eco-friendly item right now. The water worse tasting and sometimes less pure. Install a faucet in your office with a Britta filter, and give clients glasses of water. If you find yourself drinking bottled water, buy a water bottle and bring it with you.

(photo: ellajphillips)


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  • Troy Pickard

    Randall, thanks for noting that computers still draw power when they’re in “sleep” mode. If you want to take things one step further, you can even hook your electronics up to a power strip, and turn the power strip off when you leave for the day!

    Because, even if your computer is “off,” if it’s plugged directly into the wall, it will always be drawing power.

  • Dan Sheridan

    Troy –

    It’s not just the computer – it’s all the peripherals as well. An even easier solution is a smart power strip which turns off the peripherals when the main component (computer) is turned off (or goes into sleep mode). Take a look at the Philips SPP3225WA/17 as one example of this technology. I find it an incredibly simple way to get past the standby power-sucking problem. My printer, scanner, backup drive and dictation device are all plugged into “slave” outlets that turn off automatically when the computer is off or sleeping (always best to shut it down).