Wrestling with Legal and Business Issues While Striving for Sustainability: The Starbucks Experience Presented by Washington Lawyers for Sustainability

Friday, December 4, 2009

8:00 am to 1:00 pm

Starbucks Headquarters

2401 Utah Avenue South

Seattle, Washington

 

8:30 – 8:40 am   Welcome and Introduction

 

8:40 – 9:25 am   Green Beans

Presented by:  Kelly Goodejohn and Julie Wade, Starbucks Corporation

Kelly and Julie will discuss Starbucks ethical sourcing practices, the development of Starbucks coffee sourcing program “C.A.F.E. Practices” (Coffee and Farmer Equity), its cocoa sourcing program known as “Cocoa Practices” and its manufactured goods and services sourcing program known as the “Supplier Social Responsibility” program.

 

9:25 – 10:10 am   Green Garbage

Presented by:  Jim Hanna and Susan Long, Starbucks Corporation

This presentation will go over some of the municipal ordinances on recycling, composting, plastic bags, etc. that are being adopted around the country and will also focus on Starbucks recent “Cup Summit” and how Starbucks is seeking to reduce the impact of paper and plastic cups generated in Starbucks stores on the waste stream.

 

10:10 – 10:25 am   Break – Coffee Tasting

 

10:25 – 11:10 am   Green Building a/k/a the LEED Portfolio Program

Presented by:  Fulton (Tony) Gale FAIA, Starbucks Corporation

Tony will discuss the innovative LEED Portfolio program that Starbucks will be piloting over the next year and the role of the Starbucks lawyers in supporting the effort to make it happen.

11:10 – 11:45 am   Green Marketing

Presented by:  Gail M. Resnik, Starbucks Corporation

This presentation will cover the general topic of how to make honest green claims about products or services while keeping one’s clients out of trouble with the FTC, NADA, local AGs and others.

11:45 – 12:45 pm   Counseling the Organization: A Lawyer’s Ethical Obligations

Under RPC 1.13 and 2.1

Presented by:  Colin Folawn, Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt

RPC 2.1 provides that lawyers must exercise independent professional judgment. When rendering advice, lawyers may refer not only to law but to other considerations, including relevant moral, economic, social, and political factors. This presentation will discuss a lawyer’s obligations to organizational clients under RPC 1.13 and certain possible intersections with RPC 2.1.

12:45 – 1:00 pm   Concluding Remarks; Adjourn


FACULTY:

Gail M. Resnik is director, Managing Corporate Counsel, Starbucks Law & Corporate Affairs Department; Intellectual Property. She manages a group of lawyers and paralegals responsible for the review of marketing materials at Starbucks.  Prior to Starbucks, she worked for Paramount Pictures Corporation in Los Angeles and Corbis Corporation in Seattle.  Gail is a graduate of University of Michigan, (B.A., cum laude; M.A., Education) and Loyola Marymount University, J.D.
Jim Hanna is director, Environmental Impact, Starbucks Coffee Company where he oversees the company’s initiatives to minimize its environmental footprint through green building, energy conservation, international procurement, waste minimization and collaboration with partner corporations and NGOs. Prior to Starbucks, he served as Director of Environmental Affairs for Xanterra Parks & Resorts at Yellowstone National Park.  In the position, Jim oversaw Xanterra’s many progressive environmental initiatives in its operations as the primary concessionaire in the park, including an ISO 14001-certified Environmental Management System. Before escaping to Yellowstone, he worked as Director of Operations for Teris Environmental in Los Angeles, managing the company’s seven regional offices in North America.  Jim earned a BS in Environmental Sciences from Washington State University and is a U.S. Green Building Council LEED-accredited professional.
Susan Long joined Starbucks Coffee Company in 1996 in the Supply Chain engineering group working on roasting process development and overseeing roasting plant environmental compliance.  In 2008, she joined the Global Responsibility department, focusing on environmental issues.  She works with the business units to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of operations, from waste reduction to energy and water efficiency and green building, as well as with external stakeholders in NGOs, government and partner companies.  Prior to Starbucks, she worked in the research and development group at Kraft Foods.  Susan has an M.S. in Chemical Engineering, an M.B.A., and is a LEED accredited professional.
Kelly Goodejohn joined Starbucks in 2005 as the manager of Starbucks Supplier Social Responsibility (“SSR”) Program.  Currently she is director, Global Responsibility. At Starbucks, Kelly has taken responsibility for fully developing and implementing the SSR program which is focused primarily on manufactured products sold or used in Starbucks stores.  She and her team have revised the Supplier Handbook Starbucks incorporates into agreements used to purchase goods and services.  Prior to coming to Starbucks, Kelly served as a social compliance manager for Nordstrom and before that, as a quality assurance expert at Eddie Bauer.  She has deep experience investigating and assessing labor standards and conditions in factories located in Asia, Africa and the Americas, both for Starbucks as well as her previous employers.  She holds a BS degree in archeology from the University of Washington.
Fulton (Tony) Gale FAIA is Starbucks Corporate Architect.  He is also the leader of its international High Performance Building Team which is in the process of implementing Starbucks green store program to have all new company-owned stores worldwide LEED certified beginning December 2010.  Tony is a member of the US Green Building Council’s Board of Directors, was Seattle City Architect under Mayors Paul Schell and Greg Nickels and practiced internationally as a principal owner of two award winning architectural firms. As chair of the AIA WA Council: Sustainable Design Resource Group he helped lead the successful passing in April 2005 of the first statewide law in the world requiring state-funded buildings be designed and built to LEED Silver or comparable ‘green building’ standards (SB 5509). He was recently appointed to the editorial board of the AIA/Seattle Forum magazine and has just accepted an appointment as the vice-chair of the Board of Regents for the newly formed Green Building Foundation.
Julie Wade is director, Corporate Counsel at Starbucks Coffee Company where she has worked  on the development and management of various Global Responsibility initiatives and programs undertaken by Starbucks including the development of ethical sourcing programs, including Starbucks coffee sourcing program known as “C.A.F.E. Practices” (Coffee and Farmer Equity), its cocoa sourcing program known as “Cocoa Practices” and its manufactured goods and services sourcing program known as the “Supplier Social Responsibility” program.  She has participated as a member of Starbucks Environmental Footprint committee as well as its Green Building Team.  She is a graduate of Harvard University, received her JD from Southern Methodist University and has been a member of the WSBA since 1979.

WSBA Approved for 4.25 hours of CLE credit including 1.5 hours of ethics credit.

 

 

To register, please call or email Mashiya Davis at (206) 318-5411 or madavis@starbucks.com.

 

Registration Fee:  $125.00 for lawyers ($75.00 for lawyers from non-profits and government, and for non-lawyer members of the legal and sustainability communities); $25 for students.  Checks only please.

 

Washington Lawyers for Sustainability Membership Fees:  $50 for Lawyer Members; $25 for Legal/Sustainability Community Members (non-lawyers); $10 for Law Student Members.  CLE attendees joining WLS during the event will receive a 50% discount on WLS membership, which is good through December 31, 2010.

Please mail your Registration Fee check to the following address by December 1st to ensure delivery, or bring in person on the 4th:

 

Eileen Carrel

Washington Lawyers for Sustainability

4632 357th Ave SE

Fall City, WA 98024

 

Attendance is limited to 100.   We will need to give priority to lawyers attending this event.  Please register early and plan to arrive early to facilitate check-in. Attendees will need to check in on the 8th floor and receive a security badge before being escorted to the meeting room.

 

Location: Starbucks Headquarters Building located at 2401 Utah Avenue South, Seattle (the old Sears building at 1st and Lander)

 

Please note:  Parking is very scarce in the SODO area.  Please plan to carpool or ride the bus if at all possible. Parking in the lot in front of Starbucks is limited to only two hours and the lot is patrolled.

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Posted by: washingtonlawyers | November 19, 2009

Upcoming Event & CLE

Wrestling with Legal and Business Issues while Striving for Sustainability:

The Starbucks Experience

Washington Lawyers for Sustainability will be presenting its first Continuing Legal Education program, on Friday, December 4, 2009, from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, hosted by Starbucks at their Seattle headquarters. We are still settling final details of the program and getting CLE credit approval from WSBA, but probable presentation topics include:

  1. Green Beans – Ethical Product Sourcing
  2. Green Buildings
  3. Greener Waste Streams
  4. Green Talk – How to Market Sustainability Efforts Without Greenwashing

We also plan to include another ethics topic, and anticipate that the program will qualify for a total of 4 hours of CLE credit, including at least 1 hour of ethics credit.

Washington Lawyers for Sustainability Membership fees: $50 for Lawyer Members; $25 for Legal/Sustainability Community Members (non-lawyers); $10 for Law Student Members

CLE tuition: $100 for Lawyer Members of Washington Lawyers for Sustainability, $125 for non-member lawyers (for CLE credit);
$50 for Legal/Sustainability Community Members, $75 for general public;
$25 for Law Students Members, $35 for non-member law students.

Please check back for updated information about registration and directions for attending.

Posted by: washingtonlawyers | July 24, 2008

July 17, 2008 Discussion Summary

Seven of us met last Thursday, July 17, hosted by Cliff Villa at the Office of the Regional Counsel for EPA. Those who participated were: Stoney Bird, Whole Energy Fuels (by teleconference) Eileen Carrel, SU Law Alexandra Filutowski, Wiener, Lambka, Deutscher (by teleconference) David Frankel, Law Office of David R. Frankel, interim coordinator Cat Reny, SU Law Shane Robinson, attorney Cliff Villa, EPA

We welcome participation by others at future meetings. Please forward this message to colleagues and friends who you think would like to participate, and ask them to contact me and cc Cliff Villa (villa.clifford@epa.gov). The next regular meeting will be at noon on Thursday, August 21. We will send out a reminder notice closer to the date.

Discussion Summary

Nonprofit legal entity formation

After introductions, we discussed the pros and cons of incorporating Washington Lawyers for Sustainability as a Washington nonprofit corporation. This topic had previously been researched and analyzed by Erin Watanabe Croman, and discussed at our last meeting in April. We concluded that the advantages of having legal status in carrying out our mission, including the perpetual existence of a distinct entity, increased visibility and credibility in dealing with other organizations and the public, and the ability to raise funds and maintain a bank account, greatly outweighed the minor ministerial duties involved in organizing and maintaining the corporate entity. Those in attendance unanimously approved incorporating as a Washington nonprofit, and taking Erin up on her offer to handle the incorporation, if she is still willing to do so.

As a nonprofit corporation, WLS will need officers and directors. If you are interested in serving in any capacity, please let me know at your earliest convenience.

We noted that WLS will need to consider the question of who is a member of the organization and what formal requirements, if any, should be imposed. We agreed that in general, we should keep any barriers to participating in WLS meetings and events fairly low, but that a substantially higher degree of commitment will be required from those who wish to help run the organization.

Tax exempt status

We then turned to the related question of obtaining tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization. Again, we concluded that the benefits outweighed the burdens, and that we should apply for tax exempt status for WLS as soon as practicable following its incorporation. Cat Reny volunteered to research the duties of the treasurer of a tax exempt nonprofit, including the specific question of whether there is any potential individual liability to the IRS on the part of the nonprofit’s financial officer for any potential violation of IRS regulations.

Speakers series

We then took up discussion of appropriate format, topics and audience for the speakers series we had agreed at prior meeting that WLS should launch. Alexandra Filutowski offered to prepare and circulate a an online survey to everyone on our list to get input about what is interesting, feasible and worthwhile for them to attend. The survey will be your opportunity to tell us what you think about what format (length, time of day, venue, etc.) is most convenient; whether to focus presentations narrowly on topics of direct legal relevance (for which CLE credit might be available) or include wider context topics (science, policy, perspectives from other professions), too; and who our audience should be (i.e., just WLS “members”, attorneys and/or other legal professionals, general public). Alexandra expects to be circulating the survey within the next week or so. We urge you to take a few moments to respond so we can plan events with the greatest benefit to you.

Finally, because it has been a few months since our last regular meeting, I am attaching the discussion summary from our March “2020 Vision Retreat”, at which we discussed education and training possibilities and the role of lawyers in fostering sustainability in greater depth. Please email me with any questions and your suggestions for officers and directors; and please forward this message to others who would be interested in participating.

Best regards,

David Frankel,

Interim Coordinator

Posted by: washingtonlawyers | July 18, 2008

Everyone’s Business

From Barbara Lither and Cliff Villa at EPA, attached is a March, 2008 report (68 page pdf) from the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology.

Everyone’s Business: Working Towards Sustainability Through Environmental Stewardship and Collaboration. Click here —>everyones-business-nacept-report-2008

Posted by: washingtonlawyers | July 11, 2008

Meeting Notice

The next organizational meeting of Washington Lawyers for Sustainability will be Thursday, July 17, from noon to 1:00 pm.  The meeting will be held at the Office of Regional counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in the Park Place Building at 1200 Sixth Avenue (the corner of 6th and University) in Seattle.  When you arrive, please take the elevator to the 12th floor service center and ask for Cliff Villa, our host at the EPA.

All are welcome.

Posted by: washingtonlawyers | April 23, 2008

Meeting Notice

The next organizational meeting of Washington Lawyers for Sustainability will be Thursday, April 24, from noon to 1:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Office of Regional counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in the Park Place Building at 1200 Sixth Avenue (the corner of 6th and University) in Seattle.

Posted by: washingtonlawyers | March 27, 2008

March Meeting Minutes

Ten of us met last Thursday, March 20, hosted by Cliff Villa at the EPA offices.  Those who participated were:

Jed Barden, Riddell Williams
Erin Watanabe Croman, Riddell Williams
Sean Croman, Wilson Sonsini
David Frankel, Law Office of David R. Frankel, interim coordinator

Barbara Lither, EPA
Pat Pressentin, Pressentin & Associates

Cat Reny, SU Law
Shane Robinson
Cliff Villa, EPA
Julie Wade, Starbucks (by teleconference)

We welcome participation by others at future meetings.  Please forward this message to colleagues and friends who you think would like to participate, and ask them to contact me, and cc Cliff Villa (villa.clifford@epa.gov), and Rebecca Parker (parkerr@seattleu.edu).

The next meeting will be at noon on Thursday, April 17, 2008, at the EPA offices. I will send out a reminder notice closer to the date.

Discussion Summary

Planning Retreat Follow-up

As an action item from the Sustainability Roles for Lawyers working group session at the March 1 retreat, Erin Croman, Amy Bann and David Frankel prepared the attached draft list of practice areas and legal issues relevant to sustainability.  This list is a starting point.  We invite all of you to suggest further additions

Following up on the suggestions made by the Education and Training working group at the retreat, Barbara Lither identified as a priority organizing monthly presentations by lawyers who are actively engaged with various sustainability issues.  Barbara also has excellent reading lists which will be posted on the web site.

Governance and Affiliation with Bar and other organizations

– We agreed that we should explore the pros and cons of incorporation as a non-profit with 501(c)(3) status.  Erin Croman volunteered to investigate these issues and report back to us with suggestions about whether and when to proceed.

– We also discussed affiliation and/or cooperation with Bar and other organizations.

  • David Frankel and Cliff Villa reported on the annual steering committee retreat of Oregon Lawyers for a Sustainable Future, which they attended at the invitation of Dick Roy, along with Eileen Carrel.
    • The OLSF group expressed great interest in working with WLS and exploring synergies between our groups and activities.  In particular, we discussed:
      • Sharing of office practices tools.
      • Presenting “The Dimensions of Sustainability” CLE in Washington with WLS co-sponsorship.
      • Developing Seattle University as a center of gravity for law and sustainability in the Northwest.
      • Expanding OLSF and WLS outreach to parts of Oregon and Washington beyond Greater Portland and Seattle.
      • Tagging onto other CLEs to reach a broader audience.
    • Dick and Jeanne Roy will be in Seattle on Tuesday, May 6 to give a 2:30 presentation at a meeting of law firm administrators.  They have offered to meet with us earlier in the day to give us their thoughts about initiatives and areas of cooperation between OLSF and WLS.  During our 3/20 WLS meeting, we discussed organizing a luncheon event for the Roys.  We agreed that because of space constraints, attendance will need to be limited to those who have attended at least one prior WLS meeting.  Jed Barden offered to organize the event and to see if it can be hosted at the offices of his law firm (Riddell Williams)
  • We discussed placing an article in the Washington State Bar Journal announcing formation of WLS and describing our initiatives
  • Julie Wade suggested contacting Todd True of Earth Justice and inviting him to meet with us.

Other Action Items

Shane Robinson and Cat Reny will be exploring and reporting back to us about options for enhancing the prominence, flexibility and accessibility of our website as we increase our online resources

– Pat Pressentin is making progress with researching and compiling lists of sustainable providers of office supplies and other services and resources of interest to lawyers and law firms.  His results will be published on the WLS site.

Our next regular meeting will be held at noon on Thursday, April 17, at the EPA offices.   I will send out a meeting reminder as that date approaches. Please email me with any questions and forward this message to others who would be interested in participating.

Best regards,

David Frankel,
Interim Coordinator

Posted by: washingtonlawyers | March 8, 2008

2020 Vision Retreat Discussion Summary

Nine of us met for the “2020 Vision Retreat” of Washington Lawyers for Sustainability last Saturday morning, March 1, graciously hosted by Marcia Mellinger at her home.  The purpose of the retreat was to envision what we would like the organization to become and to be accomplishing by 2020.  Those who participated were:

Amy Bann, King County
Jed Barden, Riddell Williams
Erin Watanabe Croman, Riddell Williams
Sean Croman, Wilson Sonsini
Alexandra Filutowski, Wiener Lambka Deutscher
David Frankel, Law Office of David R. Frankel, interim coordinator
Barbara Lither, EPA
Marcia Mellinger
Cliff Villa, EPA

Meeting Notes

After each of us introduced ourselves to the group by describing our backgrounds, areas of practice and interests in sustainability issues, we started the 2020 Vision discussion by recapping the four broad and overlapping areas of focus we have identified in prior meetings:

1) Becoming a trusted resource and conduit for information relevant to sustainability;

2) Leading by example by developing and implementing sustainable practices for law firm operations;

3) Incorporating sustainability into counseling of business clients; and

4) Identifying changes to existing laws and regulations that would promote sustainable practices in such areas as land and resource use, building codes, etc.

Brainstorming about the role of a lawyers’ sustainability organization

The group spent the first half of the morning brainstorming about what we as lawyers are uniquely suited to contribute to the promotion of sustainability, and what values and activities we think would characterize an effective, successful organization of lawyers committed to sustainability principles.  Marcia acted as facilitator and recorded summary statements of our suggestions.  Our ideas, which I have clustered somewhat thematically here, included:

  • Leading by example
  • Producing more action than organizational process and structure
  • Producing tangible results on specific issues
  • Encouraging participation by others interested in various aspects of law and sustainability
  • Developing a sense of community through the organization and its activities, including a fun, social component
  • Earning and maintaining a reputation for credibility and integrity
  • Influencing policy and decisionmaking
  • Vetting claims made by business and government re sustainability
  • Defining the roles that lawyers can fill concerning sustainability in various contexts
  • Embedding the concept of sustainability into legal practice
  • Heightening corporate awareness of sustainability through all phases of business
  • Engendering systems/long term thinking
  • Encouraging incorporation of environmental justice concerns into the sustainability framework
  • Acting as liaison between the legal profession and other groups addressing sustainability issues
  • Becoming an umbrella organization for spin-off groups focused on specific issues or functions related to sustainability
  • Functioning analogously to “Washington Lawyers for the Arts”
  • Developing a referral service to and for lawyers and providers of other services addressing sustainability issues
  • Broadening law firm pro bono policies to encompass sustainability-related projects
  • Fostering a pro bono sustainability bar
  • Providing education and training to lawyers on sustainability issues and best practices
  • Starting and running law school sustainability clinics
  • Developing attorney and law firm sustainable practice standards and certifications
  • Developing checklists for spotting and analyzing law-related sustainability issues in various contexts
  • Developing and publishing a set of accessible, plain language legal documents relevant to sustainable practices in various areas
  • Identifying funding sources to support the organization and sustainability projects

Breakout Working Groups

After some social time during which we explored the pond and wetland area behind Marcia’s home (which was preserved through the her efforts and those of her neighbors), we reconvened and decided to split into two working groups to focus on 1) education and training; and 2) developing roles for lawyers in promoting sustainability.   Most of us expressed interest in participating in both working groups going forward.

Education & Training
The participants in the Education and Training breakout group were Barbara Lither, Cliff Villa, Marcia Mellinger, and Alexandra Filutowski.  Alexandra reported back on the ideas generated by their discussion, as follows:

1. implement Dick Roy’s 7 Steps of Engagement
2. list book lists and Law Review articles on WLS’ website (Barbara has many resources to list)
3. bring outside, non-lawyer speakers to WLS monthly meetings to provide us with further resources and knowledge on sustainability.
4. publish quarterly e-newsletter (Barbara knows someone from work who publishes a sustainble business practices newsletter with summaries of various news articles re: domestic and international sustainability)
5. develop a speaker kit that WLS can bring to various non-traditional sustainability groups and CLES (real estate section, corporate law section, etc.) and give mini presentation on how sustainaiblty is involved, affected, or should be considered by that area of law.
6. host a corporate social responsibility (CSR) CLE on how to develop a CSR and sustainability practice.
7. launch an online or email survery to gain accurate demographic info on those intersted in our group or who might be interested in our group.
8. advertise in Bar News, KCBA, etc.
9. publish article(s) in the above.
Sustainability Roles for Lawyers

The participants in the Sustainability Roles for Lawyers breakout group were Amy Bann, Jed Barden, Sean Croman, Erin Croman and David Frankel.  Erin reported back on the ideas and action items generated by their discussion as follows:

1.    Developing checklist/guidelines for the role of a lawyer in the area of sustainability
  • The group determined that we would create a draft checklist/ guidelines for areas in which law intersects with sustainability (e.g., environmental, land use, intellectual property, employment, corporate).
  • Amy will forward a copy of a short working draft she has to Erin.
  • Erin will incorporate Amy’s draft and begin a working draft of the group checklist.
  • David will provide names/email addresses to Erin of additional WLS members who had previously expressed interest in working to develop a checklist/ guidelines for the role of a lawyer in the area of sustainability.
  • Erin will then forward a copy of the working draft to the group for comments.
2.    Pro bono network for sustainability related legal work
  • The group discussed developing a pro bono network for legal matters concerning sustainability. Debate ensued regarding whether WLS should approach pro bono coordinators at large local law firms to gauge interest and in determining whether sustainability legal matters would be supported by law firm pro bono policies.
  • As a first step in gauging interest and determining the parameters of law firm pro bono policies, Sean and Erin will inquire with their respective law firms.

Other Agenda Items

Naming the organization
After several participants expressed the opinion that our working name to date, Washington Lawyers for a Sustainable Future is a bit longer than it needs to be, and observed that the concept of “sustainability” embraces concern for the future, the entire group discussed whether to adopt a different name.  We rejected options that implied that we are a bar association or affiliated with the state bar, and opted to stay with a name that is descriptive, implies action in the present to promote sustainability, and evokes our relationship with Oregon Lawyers for a Sustainable Future, with whom we hope to continue to cooperate closely:  Washington Lawyers for Sustainability (WLS)

Legal Entity
We discussed pros and cons of forming a nonprofit corporation and of seeking 501(c)(3) status.  The discussion tended to favor incorporating at some point so that when we need to approach law firms and other organizations we will be more than an amorphous group without legal status; but was more inconclusive regarding 501(c)(3) status, which might preclude us from some advocating for changes in the law in some ways.  We will need to revisit these issues.

Oregon Lawyers for a Sustainable Future Retreat

Dick Roy and OLSF have kindly invited David Frankel and another WLS founding organizer to attend their annual retreat on Sunday, March 9, in Portlan.  Cliff Villa will be in Oregon that weekend and offered to attend.

Social events

All of us who attended the retreat enjoyed the energy, creativity and commitment of the group, and agreed that in addition to regular meetings for conducting business, WLS should organize social evenings every month or so at congenial watering holes so that we can meet and brainstorm in a less structured way.

Thanks to Marcia Mellinger and John McAlvay for hosting us!

The next regular meeting of WLS will be at noon on Thursday, March 20, 2008, at the EPA offices. I will send out a reminder notice closer to the date.

Posted by: washingtonlawyers | January 28, 2008

Minutes from January Meeting

Eight of us met last week, hosted by Cliff Villa at the EPA offices.  Those who participated were:

Eileen Carrel, Seattle University School of Law
David Frankel, Law Office of David R. Frankel, interim coordinator
Elie Halpern
Chris Howard, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt
Barbara Lither, EPA
Rebecca Parker, Seattle University School of Law
Pat Pressentin, Pressentin & Associates
Cliff Villa, EPA

We welcome participation by others at future meetings.  Please forward this message to colleagues and friends who you think would like to participate, and ask them to contact me, and cc Cliff Villa (villa.clifford@epa.gov), and Rebecca Parker (parkerr@seattleu.edu).

The next meeting will be at noon on Thursday, February 14, 2008, at the EPA offices. I will send out a reminder notice closer to the date.

Discussion Summary


Initiatives Update

Thanks to Shane Robinson, a recent graduate of SU School of Law, Washington Lawyers for a Sustainable Future now has a mailbox, washingtonlawyers@gmail.com; and a blog, located at wlsf.wordpress.com.  We now have an online location at which to work on our objective to become a trusted conduit and clearinghouse for relevant information about sustainability and the law.

Our discussion on 1/17 focused first on what information to put on the WLSF site, what links it should contain, and whose sites we should request to add links to the WLSF site, so that we maximize the number of interested people who access it. Pat Pressentin offered to take the lead on developing a list for the site of the most sustainable products and certified suppliers for office supplies and services typically used by law firms.  This will be very helpful to firms who would like to adopt and advise about more sustainable practices but do not yet know how to identify and locate the most sustainable products and services available in the market. Chris Howard offered to approach WSBA about the possibility of adding a link from a relevant area of their website to the WLSF site.  He also suggested developing standards for certification of sustainable service businesses, such as law and accounting firms.

Barbara Lither, who has given numerous training sessions on sustainability issues to EPA employees, and who will be delivering a series of 2-day sessions to other federal employees, offered to make some of her training materials available.  This should be a great help to us as we think about ways to train Washington lawyers to become sustainability leaders within their firms, to train other lawyers in sustainability best practices, and to counsel their business clients in sustainable business practices.

The Center on Corporations, Law & Society at Seattle University School of Law will be hosting a CLE on “Supporting sustainable Business Practices Through Law” on Friday, February 22, 2008 from 8:30 to 3:00.  It should be a very thought-provoking series of presentations by knowledgeable speakers.  Dana Gold, Director of the Center, has offered to set aside a few minutes during the program for an introduction of WLSF to the attendees.  This should help us to attract additional participants as we continue to define WLSF’s mission and launch our first initiatives.

Next Meeting and “2020 Vision” Retreat

We have scheduled our next regular meeting for noon on Thursday, February 14, at the EPA offices.  We will use most of this meeting to plan the “2020 Vision” retreat which is now scheduled for Saturday, March 1.  We will send out a meeting reminder for the February 14 meeting in early February.  Following that meeting, we will send out full details and an agenda for the March 1 Retreat.

Posted by: washingtonlawyers | December 18, 2007

Minutes from the December Meeting

Eight of us met last week, hosted by Cliff Villa at the EPA offices.  Those who participated were:

Brian DeSoto, Garvey Shubert Barer
Alexandra Filutowski, Wiener Lambka Deutscher, P.S.

David Frankel, Law Office of David R. Frankel, interim coordinator
Elie Halpern
Marcia Mellinger
Alice Ostdiek, Foster Pepper
Shane Robinson, SU Law
Cliff Villa, EPA

We welcome participation by others at future meetings. 
The next meeting will be at noon on Thursday, January 17, 2008, at the EPA offices. I will send out a reminder notice closer to the date.

 

Discussion Summary 


Mission

Our meeting on Wednesday, December 5, again focused primarily on defining the mission for “Washington Lawyers for a Sustainable Future”.  In the course of a lively discussion, we reached consensus that the organization’s activities should probably cluster around four major areas:

  1. Conduit for reliable, relevant information – WLSF should be a trusted resource and clearinghouse for lawyers and others working towards a sustainable future.  To that end, we should host a website with content we produce and links to relevant information and sites of other organizations.  Pat Pressentin also suggested that we host a blog, which could greatly accelerate our progress in developing best practices and spreading information.  Shane Robinson agreed to report back about the logistics of starting a website and blog.

  2. Champions within our own firms and organizations – Lawyers and law firms should lead by example, and those of us active in WLSF should become champions within our firms, corporations, or agencies in promoting sustainable business practices in day-to-day operations.  In doing so, our own firms will become laboratories for the development of best practices in sustainable business activities.

  3. Counseling clients to adopt sustainable practices – Those of us who counsel or interact with business clients must persuade our clients that the business and legal climate is changing, just as the geophysical climate is, and that they need to plan ahead by adopting sustainable practices now. I suggested that WLSF should develop training materials to be used in CLEs and in-house training of attorneys who can become catalysts for including the sustainability dimension in business and legal decision-making.

  4. Advocating for changes in the law – Lawyers have great influence over potential changes to state and local land use regulations and building codes, which in turn have  tremendous effects on the sustainability of human activities in our local environment.   These are just a few examples of areas where lawyers concerned with sustainability can maximize the impact of their unique professional qualifications and skills.

 


Organization, Structure and Governance

We agreed that for now it is still best for us to meet as a loose affiliation of interested lawyers and to remain independent of the Bar.  After we have further clarified WLSF’s mission, we can constitute a steering committee of several people who are committed to advancing the mission.  We can also establish subcommittees as needed.


Future Meetings and “2020 Vision” Retreat

We agreed to meet at least once a month to continue discussing mission, initiatives, and organizational issues.  Our next meeting will be at noon on Thursday, January 17, at the EPA offices.  We will use this meeting primarily to plan a retreat to be scheduled in late February.  Marcia Mellinger suggested that the discussion at the retreat should focus on our vision of what WLSF should become by the year 2020, and what we need to do to get the organization to that point.  Marcia kindly offered to host the retreat and facilitate the discussion.  Before taking her up on the hosting offer, we should get an idea of how many people are likely to attend.  If the number is large, we can probably arrange to meet on the SU campus.

We welcome participation in these foundational discussions by others interested in building Washington Lawyers for a Sustainable Future into an effective organization for channeling our professional skills into solving the problems of sustainability.

Please email me with any questions and forward this message to others who would be interested in participating.

Best regards, and happy holidays to all –

David Frankel,
Interim Coordinator

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