Nixon Peabody has appointed a chief sustainability officer, hoping not only to reduce the firm’s environmental impact, but to increase its impact on clients. Carolyn Kaplan, a counsel in the firm’s energy and environmental practice, will spend at least a quarter of her time in the new position.
So what exactly will Ms. Kaplan do in this new gig? Send around annoying firm-wide emails telling people to recycle those reams of useless Westlaw print-outs? Tell associates to turn off the lights when they leave their offices (even if it will tip off the partners to their departures)?
Kaplan said the position has two aspects: looking internally at ways to reduce the firm’s production of CO2, or its carbon footprint, and determining how attorneys can use the firm’s experience to better understand clients dealing with environmental regulation and related issues. Both of those could make the firm greener in the financial sense, too, she said.
More after the jump.
Some rivals reacted skeptically when contacted by The Recorder:
“I don’t think it hurts, but no client is going to go to a firm because they have a chief sustainability officer,” said Randolph Visser, an environmental law partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton.
But an environmentally-minded associate at another firm, who brought this item to our attention, supports NP’s move:
Judging from the comments to your recent post on law office green policies, and of course your coverage of ThemeSongGate, this will open up Nixon Peabody to yet more snarking and criticism — both from the plain old haters, and from the weird “screw the environment” crowd that seems to populate your readership.
Nonetheless, I applaud this move, and expect other firms will follow suit in the coming year or two.
Is having a “CSO” the wave of the future? Or is it just silly? Take our reader poll.
Update: We are firm believers in recycling here at ATL. The WSJ Law Blog previously posted on this news here.
Nixon Peabody Appoints Chief Sustainability Officer [The Recorder via Law.com]
Everyone’s an Eco-Warrior At Nixon Peabody! [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Biglaw Perk Watch: How Green Was My Valley Law Firm