Green Initiative Committee

GreenLogoThe Green Initiative Committee (GIC) promotes efficient energy use and other environmentally responsible practices in the legal profession. 

The committee's work positively impacts the environment, helps law offices reduce costs, adds value to client service, and has positioned the CMBA as a "green leader" among bar associations. We also invite you to check out the recent articles published in the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal are available in the "articles and more" tab as well.

Green Renew Button

Since it began in 2008, the GIC has worked on a comprehensive CMBA Green Initiative, the center stone of which is a Green Certification Program. The Green Certification program now includes two certification levels. Applying for the two-year certification recognition is simple. See the "certification" tab for more information.  The GIC also developed a Carbon Footprint Calculator for Legal Services Organizations.  Download your free copy today! 

For more information on the Green Initiative, please contact: Rita Klein 

Green Initiative Committee: 

2015 Chair, Michelle A. Cook, Cady Reporting Services, Inc.
Antoinette T. Bacon, United States Attorney's Office
David Brown, Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., LPA
Sara Ravas Cooper, Walter | Haverfield LLP
Katy M. Franz, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP
Chris Hanwell, Cady Reporting Services, Inc.
John A. Heer, Walter | Haverfield LLP
Caitlin Lanning
Judith Walker Miles, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office
Florence J. Murray, Murray & Murray Co., LPA
Heidi Gorovitz Robertson, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Jeffery A. Schiffman, Western Reserve Land Conservancy
Kara Soppelsa, Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., LPA
Carter E. Strang, Tucker Ellis LLP
Dawn M. Tarka, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority


Event Subcommittee -- identify, create and promote events for not only our committee but the entire CMBA membership

Tech Czar -- handle all social media and identify "greener" ideas for law firm's technology areas

Green Initiative Proposal Subcommittee -- applying and submitting proposals for awards and other recognition and to help make the CMBA Green Committee a leader in our community

Green Awareness Subcommittee -- help foster understanding and awareness to others by managing green columns in the CMBA Bar Journal, submit green tips for use in the daily CMBA Bar Briefs and create other communications deemed necessary

Membership -- focus on increasing membership to the green committee as well as increasing Green Certified Firms

Green Certification Criteria Sub-Committee -- to address certification criteria on an ongoing basis; to look at certified firm/office recognition

The CMBA will certify participating firms/offices as Green, in accordance with the criteria laid out below. All local law firms/offices employing one or more CMBA members are eligible to apply for CMBA Green Certification. To have your firm or office CMBA Green Certified, a firm/office contact or administrator must demonstrate, in writing, that the firm/office is in compliance with the established criteria. Certified firms/offices will be recognized by way of an annual certificate and online at the CMBA website.

Requests for 2015-2017 certification are being accepted. The Green Initiative Committee will recognize new and renewing firms/offices at the David Webster Greener Way to Work Day luncheon each fall (see the events tab). Certified firms will be listed periodically in the CMBA Bar Journal and added to the list of certified firms below.

We encourage you to apply for CMBA Green Certification or Green + Certification using our online forms. Details for both levels are listed below.

Green Certification Criteria


A.)    PAPER REDUCTION - A commitment to 2 of the following 4 efforts to reduce per capita paper use: 

    1.     purchasing office paper with at least 30% recycled content. 
    2.     using double-sided copying and printing, at least for drafts and internal documents 
    3.     recycling discarded office paper 
    4.     purchasing office paper only from paper manufacturers with sustainable forestry management practices (click here to visit the American Forest & Paper Association for information on this type of paper manufacturer)

B.)   ENERGY REDUCTION - A commitment to reduce office energy use by 10% in the first year of certification (click here for tips on reducing energy usage [PDF])

C.)  RECYCLING PROGRAM - Must have or form a firm/office program for recycling glass, plastic and e-waste products (toner cartridges, computers, etc.)

D.)  INTERNAL GREEN COMMITTEE  - Must have or form a firm/office Green Committee or designated administrator to implement the program, interface with the CMBA, and generally encourage environmentally-responsible practices among staff. 

Green+ Certification Criteria


In addition to the standard Green level,  firms/offices that want to expand their sustainability practices can apply for Green+ Certification. This advance level requires firms to quantify their successes. Along with the standard paper, recycling and energy savings requirements, the Green+ criteria requires a firm to document a 10% energy savings from a baseline year of its choosing to demonstrate a continuing downward trend in usage after that (per capita). Applicants may also qualify for Green+ by accomplishing other options for energy reduction. See the form for full details.


43 firms/offices are currently certified. The list below was last updated October 2015. 

Green+ certified for 2015-2017
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority 
Murray & Murray Co., L.P.A.

Green certified for 2015-17
Cleveland Metroparks
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
Collins & Scanlon, LLP
Eighth District Court of Appeals
Elk & Elk
John J. Ready & Associates
Jones Day
Lingle Legal Services, LLC
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C
Schneider, Smeltz, Ranney & LaFond P.L.L.
Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd.
Sutter O'Connell Co. LPA

Green+ certified for 2014-16
Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP
Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP

Green certified for 2014-16
American Civil Liberties Union
Britton Smith Peters & Kalail Co., L.P.A.
Brouse McDowell
Cady Reporting Services, Inc.
Cleveland Law Library Association
Cohen Rosenthal & Kramer LLP
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office
Douglass & Associates Co., LPA
Fahsbender Law Office LLC
Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP
Icove Legal Group, Ltd.
Law Office of Richard J. Stahl III
The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
Licata & Associates Co., LPA
McMahon DeGulis LLP
Mehler & Hagestrom Court Reporters
Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis
Mishkind Law Firm Co. L.P.A.
The Moskowitz Firm
Muskovitz & Lemmerbrock, LLC
Roetzel & Andress, LPA
Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc.
Seeley, Savidge, Ebert & Gourash Co., LPA
Tucker Ellis LLP
Walter | Haverfield LLP
Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A.

Greener Way to work week

The Green Initiative Committee (GIC) was pleased to host its Greener Way to Work Week September 28 - October 2. The week encouraged finding greener ways to commute to work one or more days that week. The GIC also hosted its annual luncheon on Friday, October 2 at the CMBA. The luncheon welcomed special guest presenter, Colby Sattler of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and also formally recognized the firms/offices who are CMBA Green and Green+ Certified.

About David B. Webster 

David Webster was CMBA president-elect, a Green Initiative Committee member, founder of the Clean Air Conservancy and partner with the firm Webster Dubyak & Weyls Co., LPA. David passed away in March 2009 after a brief illness.

Pledge to go Green 

Find a greener commute one or more days of Greener Way to Work Week. Please let us know you are participating by filling out our online form. We don't share your information, we just try to track participation.

Join the conversation and share your photos on social media (#GreenCMBA) and email any commute photos to

Greener Way to Work Luncheon (Oct. 2)

The luncheon welcomed keynote speaker Colby Sattler of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy who shared information about Reforest Our City. We also celebrated the firms/offices who are CMBA Green and Green+ Certified.

For information on how to get your firm/office certified or to view a complete list of certified firms/office, click on the certification tab above.

The luncheon honors the memory of David Webster, a former Green Initiative Committee member, founder of the Clean Air Conservancy and CMBA President-Elect, who died in 2009. 

To become a table sponsor or corporate sponsor of the event, please complete the form and return it to the CMBA. 
Table Sponsor includes a table for 6 at the luncheon, plus recognition at the event and in pre- and post-event publicity. Table sponsors are encouraged to submit two to three examples of the office’s green sustainability efforts or activities so they may be shared with the luncheon audience.
For information on tickets or sponsorship for the the luncheon, please contact the CMBA at 216-696-3525 and ask for Tressa Trodden. 


The Green Initiative Committee announced at the 2015 Greener Way to Work Luncheon changes to the award offered through the committee.  Starting in 2016, the Green Initiative Committee will announce the first recipient of the newly renamed "Green Sustainability Award."  Changes to the award include:


  • Award will honor an individual, not a firm
  • Recipient can be a lawyer or non-lawyer
  • There may be more than one recipient if candidates are deemed worthy of the honor
  • Recipient(s) will be a CMBA member or an employee of a CMBA Green Certified firm/office


Award Criteria 
The award will recognize an individual who:
1.demonstrates leadership by promoting efficient energy use and other environmentally responsible practices;
2.used a unique approach to green practices; and
3.implemented a green technique that is adaptable or adoptable by others
Nominations for the award can be emailed to Nominations will remain open until further notice.

Award History:
From 2010-2013 the Green Initiative Committee presented the CMBA Green Innovation Award, which recognized a firm/office that had taken action toward sustainability that goes beyond the requirements for CMBA Green Certification. Those past recipients were: 

2013- Squire Sanders (US) LLP  (view entry)
2012 - Squire Sanders (US) LLP (view entry)
2011 - Roetzel & Andress, LPA
2010 - Tucker Ellis LLP

In 2011 and again in 2012, the luncheon included the reading and presentation of a Congressional Record proclamation in recognition of the David Webster Greener Way to Work Day.  

Photos of the 2011 luncheon 

Photos of the 2010 luncheon 



Family Fun Day 

The Green Initiative Committee hosted its first Green Family Fun Day on Saturday, June 13 at 10 a.m. at the CMBA Conference Center.

This FREE event, including complimentary:
- Movie showing of The Lorax
- Pizza
- Popcorn
- Games
- Prizes

We thank all of you for coming with your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews and friends for fun, food and learning! Resources were provided for greening your family's lifestyle and - as we are reminded by The Lorax - to help protect our environment.

Movie Synopsis:
This animated adventure follows the journey of a boy as he searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. (Rated PG)

Thank you to our sponsors

Cady Reporting Services 

Thomson Reuters

Century Federal Credit Union

Avalon Document Services

Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A.

Shea Photography

committee columns

Green Initiative Committee columns published in the CMBA Bar Journal
June 2015 - "Recycling at the Office" by David Brown
March 2015 - "Green+ Certification" by Judith Miles
December 2014 - "Going Green Promotes Sustainability and May Also Save You Some Green" by Matthew Burg
October 2014 - "Going Green with the Help of Solar" by Florence J. Murray
October 2014 - "Greening Your Legal Practice" by Carter E. Strang
October 2013 - "Classrooms to Corporations," by Joe Tarasco & Ted Theofrastous
September 2013 - "A Greener Commute," A Collective Effort by Maureen Brennan
July/August 2013 - "The Dollars and Sense of Going Green" by Katy M. Franz
June 2013 - "The Benefits of a CMBA Green Certification" by Howard G. Strain
May 2013 - "Go Green! A Team We Can’t Afford to Let Lose," One Lawyer's Decision to Go Green by Aaron A. O'Brien
April 2013 -  "Promoting Firms to “Go Green,” Updates from the Green Initiative Committee by Maureen Brennan

recent Green News

Law Firm’s Solar Array Empowers Building and the Bottom Line The law firm of Murray & Murray Co. in Sandusky, at the recommendation of one of its partners, installed an array of 250-watt solar panels on its roof. The 494 panels collectively can supply 123.5 kilowatts, or about a third of the firm’s power needs. Click here to see the full story.

Cuyahoga County Installs Bike Racks Outside Three Public Buildings  See the story on about how Cuyahoga County has installed 16 new bike racks outside the Justice Center and the Virgil E. Brown and Jane Edna Hunter buildings as part of a push for sustainability. Jennifer Scofield, coordinator of the county's Health Alliance, said the county has been working with various communities to improve the health of their citizens by promoting biking and walking.

Cleveland: Epicenter of the Environmental Movement?
See the story in CoolCleveland that talks about the turnaround of Cleveland and the recent efforts of EcoWatch.

More Articles and info

Below are links to articles and other presentation information on green initiatives, best practices and more.

Role Models in Sustainability -- The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association: Posted October 8, 2014 on the, this blog entry recognizes the CMBA and its GIC for its work and commitment to sustainability.

Title: "Green Retrofits: Sensible Projects for the Office, Home and More"
During the 2014 Greener Way to Work Week, Jerimiah Luckett (LEED AP+ BD&C, sustainability director, Doty & Miller Architects and Planners) presented a number of "how to" tips and ideas to help to improve home efficiency and cut energy. Click below to download the some of the PDFs shared at the event.
Home Energy Efficiency Projects presentation
10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Energy Use in Half
Energy Star - 15 Quick & Easy Ways to Energy in Buildings
Energy Star - 15 Pieces of Energy Saving Advice
Home Energy Pamphlet 

Title: “Greening’ Your Legal Practice” : Practical Steps to Responsible Environmental Stewardship
In an article for the DRI's Newsletter of the Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee, CMBA member Carter Strang writes about how "it is incumbent upon attorneys to help protect the earth because we are part of the problem." Click here for a PDF of the full article. This article was also published in the January/February 2015 issue of The Federal Lawyer.

In the 2010 presentation entitled,  Greenhouse Gas Reporting and Carbon Footprints , Douglas A. McWilliams of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P. discusses Carbon footprints—what they are, why/how to calculate, issues surrounding calculation, and helpful resources.  In addition, the GHG Monitoring Rule is reported on in detail.

Learn more about your Carbon Footprint with the Carbon Footprint Calculator for Legal Services Organizations.

Title:  Local Lawyer Comes to Defense of Sustainability
In an article from Cleveland Business Connects Magazine, author Lynne Meyer writes about Carter Strang of Tucker Ellis & West and how he developed the idea of the CMBA Green Initiative Committee, the Green Certification process for firms/companies and then the David Webster Greener Way to Work Day event. Click here for a PDF of the full article.

Title:  Law Firms Build a Case for Green: Recent Trends in Law Firm Sustainability Practices
CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) Law Firm Practice Group published this report in October 2010. A first in the commercial real estate services industry, the report covers sustainable strategies currently employed by law firms, including the specific practices of several CBRE clients on American Lawyer's Top 100 Law Firms list. The report specifically addresses the application and cost considerations of select sustainable strategies and considers the impacts of these and other trends in the context of the law firm industry's evolving real estate requirements. Click here to download the report.

Title:  How Green Is My Law Firm?
Rachel Loper and Robert Loper discuss environmental sustainability from the reasons to consider it to specific implementation procedures in their article entitled How Green Is My Law Firm? 

Title:  The green(er) law practice
In this article, authors Evelyne Michaut and Rob Watson suggest green practices for many aspects of legal firms, advice for firms at many different “shades of green”.

Title:  How green is my orange?
Author Andrew Martin examines the environmental costs of Pepsi Co.’s Tropicana with specific emphasis on global warming. 

Title:  New Energy Institute Targets Renewable Power, Storage and Efficiency
Case Western Reserve University’s Fall 2008 edition of Next Generation discusses the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation at Case Western Reserve University and its efforts in developing “energy use strategies” while focusing on research and development, economic development, and education.  A fresh water wind project and Cleveland’s carbon footprint are also discussed.


CMBA members can get free pick up for recycling electronics and computers through various providers. Click on the "resources" tab for more information.

Speaking of recycling computers, watch the videos below to learn more about green computing.

   CMBA and OneCommunity Recycling Drive 2011
Cavs Green Day 

Former GIC Chair Carter Strang and Joe Tarasco participated in the Cleveland Cavs' Green Day program where they displayed materials regarding the CMBA's Green Initiative and OneCommunity. 

  The first David Webster "Greener Way to Work Day" was held on Sept. 25, 2009. Learn more about this day and David Webster.


The Green Committee is happy to provide information for resources and providers to assist you in your efforts to be green.  If you have others we should consider, please contact Rita Klein at the CMBA. 

More Biking Information Bike Cleveland

The Bike Rack

NOACA's countywide trail maps. These are mostly ratings for general roadways, with difficulty ratings.

Metroparks has recently put together a smart-phone (and desktop) routing app for navigating bike (and other) trails: 
Green_City_Blue_Lake  Courtesy of Green City Blue Lake, this site provides links and maps for favorite bike trails. Enjoy. 
Cady Reporting 

Cady Reporting Services, Inc., has served the legal community in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio since 1979, providing a full range of court reporting services and has been green certified by the CMBA. Cady Reporting  understands that our business practices have a direct impact on the environment. One example of its green technology and service is eBriefs, where text and video testimony exist in one easy place. Learn more about eBriefs 

Solid Waste Management District  The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District is one of 52 solid waste management districts created by Ohio’s counties following the passage of the Ohio Solid Waste Disposal Act in 1988.  This law required districts to prepare and implement plans to reduce the amount of waste disposed in Ohio’s landfills by increasing recycling and waste reduction activities statewide. The District works to support environmentally-sustainable and economical solid waste management practices within the communities, institutions and businesses of Cuyahoga County.  The District offers many services designed to increase recycling programs and opportunities, divert waste from landfills, promote environmental awareness, and support local recycling-based businesses.
 RTA   When an employer enrolls in RTA’s Commuter Advantage program, riders enjoy their green ride to work, while keeping more green in their wallets. The Commuter Advantage is a pre-tax transportation benefit program whereby employees save money, time, and get a guaranteed ride home. All a firm has to do is offer this program thru a direct payroll deduction or FSA. No Federal, FICA, or State taxes can touch these monies thereby saving an average of $350 per year on commuting costs.

Ready to Ride is a program designed to help prospective riders find out what exactly it would take for them to ride. Based on a questionnaire they fill out, they are presented with a starter kit which contains a trip plan, two five-day work-week passes, and a contact at RTA who is their dedicated personal transit assistant that guides them through their new experience.

If your firm/office does not have a transportation benefit program in place, RTA can guide you through the process. If your firm has a program in place, all you have to do is complete a short questionnaire. Yes, it’s that easy. Your contact is Jim Frick, Sales Director, 216-702-7402.  Click here to see full details on these program .

RTA offers bike shelters. Bike shelters are at two West side rapid stations so they can leave their bikes when traveling downtown. Shelters are at Triskett and West 117th Street stations. More info.

Each year, more than 50,000 riders board RTA buses and trains with their bicycle, as part of RTA’s Rack-N-Roll program. The program, now 10 years old, includes a two-bicycle rack on the front of every bus in the fleet, as well as bike racks at most rail stations and customer facilities. Combining a bike ride with public transit is a great 1-2 punch for the environment.



RET3 provide "Green Computing" as an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way for your to donate used computer equipment. In the spring of 2011, the CMBA Green Initiative Committee joined with OneCommunity and RET3 Job Corp. Inc. for its Green Computing Program. Through this program unwanted computers and other e-waste is donated and then refurbished for distribution to Northeast Ohio schools.  As of August 15, 2011, RET3 Job Corp is coordinating all Green Computing Program inquiries, requests, donations and pickups.  Please contact Ken Kovatch at RET3 Job Corps for assistance 216-361-9991 x100. They do the pick up, you get the tax benefit. For more information, visit


The EcoRewards Commercial Recycling Program was designed to specifically address the needs of the business recycling customer by taking a comprehensive consultative approach to helping customers maximize their waste diversion and cost savings. From your desk, to the curb, to the recycling mill and back, we are a proven and trusted Full Circle Recycler that will design, support, and optimize a successful program for your company. This is a program of AbitibiBowater -- the largest manufacturer of newsprint and commercial printing papers in the world with over 40 grades of paper made with recycled paper fiber content. For more visit

green and yellow bin 

The Paper Retriever Program offers a community based fund raising recycling service to non-profit organizations such as schools, churches and civic organizations. With over 24,000 containers, this program provides a huge economy of scale that has allowed us to offer a very competitive commercial recycling program. In 2006, the Paper Retriever® program paid nearly $5.0 million to schools, churches & non-profit organizations. This is a program of AbitibiBowater, a world class recycling partner who knows how to return maximum value to our customers from their recycling streams. For more information, contact Denise Piotrowski at (216) 961-3900 or visit