OSB Sustainable Future Section

By Eva Marcotrigiano, Staff Counsel for Travelers and YLS Futures Committee member.

As you may know, the OSB now has an official section charged with focusing on sustainability issues. In 2007, at the urging of Oregon Lawyers for a Sustainable Future, the Board of Governors appointed a task force to define the bar's relationship with sustainability. On October 30, 2009, the OSB Sustainability Task Force recommended an initial scope of activities for the new Sustainable Future Section (SFS). Activities include monitoring developments in sustainability as they might affect the legal profession and the practice of law; coordinating with other sections and committees that are working on sustainability matters; providing for annual sustainability awards within the Oregon bar; monitoring how sustainability is being addressed in CLE classes; and monitoring the development of sustainable law office practices and encouraging best practices for law offices in Oregon. Education, promotion and support will be major themes for the SFS. The SFS also plans to assist with instituting an internal OSB sustainability policy and integrating sustainability into the bar's section and committee structure.

The SFS is officially up and running, with about four meetings under its belt. Discussions have focused on the above activities, as well as the general perception of the definition of the word "sustainability." ORS 184.421 defines "sustainability" for governmental operations and principles as "using, developing and protecting resources in a manner that enables people to meet current needs and provides that future generations can also meet future needs, from the joint perspective of environmental, economic and community objectives." Whether the SFS adopts the ORS definition or its own definition of sustainability is yet to be determined. As the SFS continues to evolve, future SFS activities will help solidify the answer to what "sustainability" is to the bar. 

Membership in the section will occur primarily through the OSB dues process which lasts until mid-February of each year, although people can join at any time. Section membership is $20.