Good advice on World Environment Day: Raise your voice, not the sea level (I see what they did there!).

Good advice on World Environment Day: Raise your voice, not the sea level (I see what they did there!).

NOTE: This post was updated at 5:45 pm on June 5, 2014, to reflect the fact that the cell phone donation drive will no longer be held at the State Bar Convention. Instead, it has been postponed to later this year.

On World Environment Day (yes, today!), I’m happy to share something green from the upcoming State Bar of Arizona Convention.

Let’s start with the big news: The Task Force on Sustainability is holding a cell phone recycling drive later this year. Details are being finalized as we speak, but it appears that depending on the condition of the phone, they can be donated to local charities or, if not useable, then responsibly recycled. (Last I heard, the Task Force members were aiming to donate the usable phones to domestic violence shelters).

The State Bar of Arizona Convention green reminder

The State Bar of Arizona Convention green reminder

Will there be a great raffle with a great prize possibility to urge you to donate? … Perhaps, but no news as of press time. But you weren’t considering donating simply because an iPad might be a possibility, were you? Of course not!

If such a wonderful device were to be provided as a raffle prize, I know it would come from the generous folks at Jennings Strouss & Salmon, where Task Force member Shanna Orlich is an associate. (No pressure, Shanna!)

More big news: I have been told and have it on good account that there will be a model green law office set up at Convention. Come on in and view it. It’s like IKEA with pleading paper! Among other ideas the diorama may suggest to you is a visual demonstration of the amount of paper your law office may go through in a single year. (Get ready to feel reamed.)

Finally, because the Bar Convention is a place of active (not just passive) learning, be sure to attend the three (three!) seminars that touch on green topics:

Attorney Jennifer Mott: Helping to green the bar.

Attorney Jennifer Mott: Helping to green the bar.

Congratulations to the entire Task Force for impressive work. And a special kudo to Task Force Chair Jennifer Mott, whose passion and drive for this topic are global in scope. (Don’t you just love her delightfully unstuffy law firm headshot?—outside in the sunshine even there!)

Read the entire Convention brochure here.

In recent years, the Bar has made its own efforts at making the learning environment itself more sustainable. Click here to read a few Convention sustainability FAQs.

Green initiatives at SBA 2014 Convention

(Click to biggify.)

Here is a photo, which reveals a lot about the choices made in the planning for this year’s State Bar of Arizona Convention, which ends this afternoon.

Any guess about what you’re looking at?

Let me give you a hint. It was sent to me by Jennifer Mott. Jennifer is a favorite person of mine, for a lot of reasons. But you may know her best through Arizona Attorney Magazine, in which she reported and wrote some great articles on green law practice.

Does that help you guess?

The photo shows the printed materials for this year’s Convention.

No, I don’t mean sample of the materials, or the materials for the Wednesday afternoon sessions. I mean all of the printed materials.

In past years, that stack would be a mountain. But in a great initiative, the Bar has provided materials to attendees on a flash drive. If they want to print, they could, I suppose. But most lawyers I spoke with this week appreciated the green effort—and not having to schlep binders of materials with them through 108-degree heat.

Well done.

April draws to a close, and with it, our coverage of green topics for lawyers.

Mind you, I’m sure we’ll cover more on the topic in the coming year. But as we approach May 1, the Arizona Attorney Magazine digital edition rolls over to a shiny new issue we call “June.” (Yes, the May issue will still be there, but right now there’s no hunting-for-it to deal with.)

So enjoy some sustainable reading here. Thanks again to lawyer Jennifer Mott for her amazing writing accomplishment.

And in case you don’t receive the print issue in your mailbox, I share below my column from the May issue. As you’ll see, we at the magazine are examining our own carbon footprint. Are you? Is your law firm or employer?

Have a great weekend. Here’s my column:

Recycling Ideas

A time of economic troubles may seem an odd occasion to visit a topic like green law offices.

After all, lawyers everywhere are scrambling for the best ways to survive and thrive in a global downturn. Trees and how to save them may not be top of mind.

But as our coverage this month by lawyer Jennifer Mott explains, the green law office is not so much about trees as it is about growth—of your practice and efficiency. (OK, it’s also a bit about the trees.)

(Click on the magazine page to make it larger.)

Today, there are some glimmers in the economic news that indicate a meager recovery may be in the offing. As that develops, lawyers will seek savings and smart practices wherever they can. And what we’ve dubbed “Earthwise Lawyering” may be a place to start.

On the ever-rising seas, we are all in the same boat, and I have to confess that we too have a ways to go. The State Bar of Arizona has made environmental inroads with methods as simple as window films to increase efficiency. But at Arizona Attorney, we still abide by the truism, “It takes a forest to raise a magazine.”

Jennifer’s coverage has been a spur to rethink our own paper use.

Years ago, we examined the option of fully or partially recycled paper. But the cost was substantially higher, and fellow magazine-folk said the quality was spotty. Neither was the result we wanted in our member magazine.

In 2012, though, cost is down and quality is up. Therefore, we will explore with our printer the use of various eco-friendly papers. Perhaps we might even achieve Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification (more information is at

Would you welcome such an outcome in your magazine? And have you made your own legal–environmental strides? Tell us your story at


You may remain unmoved by the (melting) iceberg that is sustainable law practice. But here is a green story we all can support.

For more than a decade, I’ve had the pleasure of reading the work of law students, courtesy of an annual competition at the University of Arizona Law School. And let me tell you—these greenhorns can turn a phrase.

The Richard Grand Legal Writing Competition is named for (and funded by) a UA Law alum whom I’ve written about before. This year, the winners in his competition (in prize order) are: Jared Jorde (2L), Matthew Chandler (2L), Joseph Austin (1L) and Benjamin Harville (3L) (tie), and Annie Ross (1L). (More detail on the competition is here:

The other competition judges were Justice Robert M. Brutinel, Arizona Supreme Court; Commissioner Wendy Morton, Maricopa County Superior Court; and attorneys Troy Larkin, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Jeremy A. Lite, Quarles and Brady LLP.

Thank you to the Law School for including me in this tradition once again. And congratulations to the winners.

I just received the following photo from an editorial board member of Arizona Attorney Magazine. It was shot by Jennifer Mott from her family’s Flagstaff house.

The photo is a stunning visual. It shows the surreal combination of a beautiful southwestern day and a brutal, dangerous forest fire.

A master of understatement, Jennifer simply said, “Luckily, we were upwind of the fire.  We had an amazing view of the plume on the first day.”

We’re glad that Jennifer—and all Northern Arizona residents—have been fine so far. Let’s hope that people continue to stay safe through this fire season.