WLS is dedicated to training and motivating lawyers, students, and concerned citizens to integrate sustainability into their lives and practices, encouraging them to collaborate and innovate to create solutions to complex sustainability problems, and working cohesively to promote a sustainable environment, community, and economy.
WLS will achieve these goals through four areas of action:
- Education – Being a trusted resource for credible, authoritative information and education about sustainability law and policy issues, especially those that have local impacts;
- Role Modeling – Encouraging and training lawyers to “walk the talk” by adopting sustainable practices in their lives and business operations;
- Counseling – Encouraging and training lawyers to incorporate sustainability issues in counseling their business and governmental clients; and
- Advocacy – Analyzing existing laws and regulations and recommending changes where appropriate to encourage wide-scale movement toward sustainable practices.
Washington Lawyers for Sustainability was founded in 2009 after a series of discussions held over a two-year period among several dozen Washington lawyers about the need for an organization of attorneys committed to addressing complex sustainability issues through law.
David Frankel, a Seattle business and commercial attorney since 1983, served as interim coordinator of the organizational discussions and now serves as President of WLS. He acknowledges that the founders of WLS were inspired by the pioneering work of an elder sibling organization, Oregon Lawyers for a Sustainable Future, and by its founder, Dick Roy, in raising awareness about sustainability issues there.
Washington Lawyers for Sustainability will sponsor and develop Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs on law and sustainability issues, and will also present speaker events for the general public on broader sustainability topics.
WLS presented its first CLE in December 2009, a half-day program hosted by Starbucks that focused on case studies of several critical sustainability issues that the company wrestles with as a major consumer retailer, such as ethical sourcing of coffee and cocoa, green building and energy efficiency, reducing and greening waste streams, and avoiding "greenwashing" in talking about its sustainability efforts.
In May 2010, WLS presented another half-day program that explored the definition of sustainability and the roles that lawyers can play in moving our society and economy in more sustainable directions.
WLS intends to present at least two half-day CLE programs every year, plus monthly lunchtime presentations.
Click here for information about upcoming events.