Submitted by Marie Montoya (MMontoya@hgnlaw.com)
Hunsucker Goodstein & Nelson PC (“HGN”) is a national law firm headquartered in Lafayette with a successful practice in environmental law and securities arbitration law. As an environmental law firm assisting clients in cleaning up environmental contamination, it makes sense for us to look at our own environmental impact. One of HGN’s biggest challenges has been to minimize the amount of paper we use, copy and produce. While most of our communications are by phone or on-line via email, there is always the need to send original documents to clients or produce documents to counsel. Document productions often involve incredible volume in excess of 100,000 pages!
Fortunately there are many new techniques and products for reducing or eliminating unnecessary paper use that HGN has discovered and implemented in its daily practice.
Producing documents on disc – Producing documents on disc eliminates the need to print hundreds of thousands of documents each week, saving our clients from expensive copying charges and postage fees. This practice is especially useful in light of the judicial system’s current electronic-discovery rules, which require parties to produce all email and on-line correspondence.
Reviewing documents online – We review many of our case documents on-line utilizing the latest technology and programs rather than reviewing from hard copy. One program HGN uses is Concordance – a litigation document management software program. Concordance is a cost-effective, cost-efficient way to manage the high volume of documents—including depositions, transcripts, email, and other documents generated during litigation.
Communicating with clients and vendors without paper – HGN encourages its clients and vendors to communicate with us via email and telephone, thus minimizing the out flow of paper. A recent development has seen many insurance companies requesting invoices via email only. We are pleased and excited to comply with this request as the more we all work together to eliminate paper waste, the better the end result for the environment. An added note, to help encourage others to think in terms of limiting their carbon footprint our emails say “Please consider the environment before printing this email.”
Printing double-sided and using recycled paper – When we do need to review from hard copy, we use recycled paper and have set our printers to default to print double-sided copies.
Although HGN will never be a paperless law firm, these techniques have become part of our normal operating procedures, substantially reducing the amount of paper that we use.
BENEFITS AND PAYBACK
Reducing HGN’s paper use has delivered many benefits:
- Helps HGN protect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint.
- Saves time by not having to print, organize and distribute massive amounts of paper to multiple parties. Performing tasks electronically and producing documents on disc is much faster and more efficient.
- Saves money for HGN from reduced bills for paper, printing, printer maintenance and paper storage.
- Saves money for HGN’s clients in reduced invoice costs associated with copying charges, document productions and postage/shipping, which can be a substantial savings when involved in multi-party litigation.
All these procedures lead back to HGN’s mission: Achieving great results for our client—as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Making the conscious effort to work towards a cleaner environment is a win-win for all!
Saving trees and helping the environment thrive is an important aspect of our business. We have teamed up with “green” minded businesses, including Barkley Court Reporters, “the first and only certified green Court Reporting firm in the United States,” http://www.barkley.com – for every deposition Barkley takes, they plant a tree. We have also teamed up with Galaxy Press, “the first certified green printer in Contra Costa County,” http://www.galaxypress.net. In addition to other green practices HGN embraces, we “shop locally.” In fact, when HGN organized its first “Earth Day Lunch Hour Cleanup” last year at the Lafayette Reservoir in conjunction with the Lafayette Chamber, we bought our sandwiches from a Lafayette Green Business, La Boulange Café & Bakery.
For information about joining HGN on Friday, April 20, 2012 for the 2nd Annual Earth Day Lunch Hour Cleanup at the Lafayette Reservoir, email Hunsucker Goodstein & Nelson PC at email@example.com.