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 


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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