Oregon Lawyers for a Sustainable Future (OLSF),a project of the Center for Earth Leadership, was created by a group of Oregon lawyers in 2006 to encourage the Oregon legal profession and individual lawyers to increase their involvement in the growing sustainability movement. OLSF now works closely with the Sustainable Future Section of the Oregon State Bar, formed at the instance of OLSF in early 2010.
OLSF has the following mission:
Oregon lawyers using professional skills and knowledge in service to future generations and Earth.
OLSF has created or spawned five task force groups:
1. Office practices.
The Office Practices Task Force promotes sustainable practices in the law office. It has created the nationally recognized Tools for the Sustainable Law Office.
The task force also has a trained team of volunteers (both lawyers and administrative staff) who meet with law-office sustainability teams to encourage use of the tools. The ABA created a link to the OLSF tools to encourage use in law offices across the country.
Sustainability – the Emerging Context for the Practice of Law, an educational seminar for lawyers, has been presented by the Center on 20 occasions to a total of about 600 lawyers.
Path to Zero Waste, the Center’s PowerPoint program, has been presented in 20 law offices.
Earth Leadership Seminars. OLSF also conducts an Earth Leadership Seminar for 12 lawyers at a time. Sixteen groups of Portland lawyers have completed this seminar.
Other Presentations. OLSF has presented at conferences organized by Lewis and Clark Law School, Seattle University Law School, and Willamette Law School, and at the national convention of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), the annual convention of ALA Region 5, the Oregon and Washington chapters of ALA, and a national Webinar sponsored by six participating professional groups within the legal industry.
The Laws Task Force seeks to assess laws and regulations through the lens of sustainability. Two initiatives have produced legislation to amend the Oregon Business Corporation Act: (1) House Bill 2826, which was signed into law on June 1, 2007 and (2) HB 2829, which died in committee in the 2009 and 2011 sessions of the Oregon legislature.
4. Statewide study.
In 2007, OLSF appointed a task force of eight lawyers and law professors to study the interface between (a) the legal profession and (b) the sustainability movement. The task force was composed of representatives from the three Oregon Law Schools, the Business Section, the Environment and Natural Resources Section, the Government Laws Section, OLSF, and the bar at large. Its report was instrumental to the success of the OSB task force appointed by the Board of Governors in 2009.
5. OSB Task Force on Sustainability.
At the instance of OLSF, in February 2009 the Board of Governors of the Oregon State Bar appointed a 14-lawyer Task Force on Sustainability. OLSF was officially represented, and many of the members had been involved in OLSF activities. The task force report was presented to the Board of Governors in October 2009, and its two primary recommendations were accepted: (1) adopt an OSB bylaw and (2) formation of the new Sustainable Future Section.
OLSF has influenced the American legal profession in many direct and indirect ways including the following (1) inspiring initiatives in Washington, California, and Massachusetts, (2) influencing the American Bar Association in its efforts to promote sustainability, and (3) creating an informal network of lawyers in eight states.
OLSF and its work have been cited in local, regional, and national publications including the following: National Law Journal, California Bar Journal, Bar Leader (ABA publication), Oregon State Bar Bulletin, Multnomah Lawyer, Legal Management News, ALA News, Sustainable Industries Journal, Portland Business Journal, The Oregonian, and Portland Tribune. View highlighted articles here. OLSF’s work on legislation has been cited in the academic literature on green corporate governance.