Almost every law firm is challenged by its desire to reduce paper usage and improve its environmental footprint.
By Peter Hartley, General Manager Law In Order Queensland
Typically, there are three primary obstacles delaying a firm’s progress in this area:
- a historical reliance on paper;
- a lack of clarity around what is required to become paperlite;
- an insufficient knowledge of alternative technology.
Increasingly, law firms are setting goals for minimising the use of paper in their practices. We often hear of the desire for achieving a paperlite or paperless office. In addition, this desire is usually accompanied by a program to recycle paper waste.
So how do you ensure that these objectives gain momentum, rather than remain in the too-hard basket? The following tips are likely to increase your chances of success:
- Ensure that your program is realistic in terms of scope and timeframe. The big bang theory (‘we will be paperless by 1 January 2017’) is likely to be unrealistic and therefore ignored. A much better option is to develop small, incremental objectives to increase focus.
- Educate your employees. Provide information on what you are trying to achieve, including regular information and tips on paper reduction as well as providing recognition for good behaviour that supports your objectives.
- Embrace technology. There are various solutions available to minimise the production and consumption of paper. eBriefs and eTrials are increasingly being adopted by the legal profession as a means of reducing consumption.
The benefits of having a realistic, focused paper reduction and recycling program include lower costs, a reduced environmental footprint and an improved corporate profile.
This article appeared in the July 2016 issue of the Australian Lawyers Weekly.