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IBA: It's Time to Go Green: Join the IndyBar Green Legal Initiative

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By Laurie E. Martin, Hoover Hull LLP
 

martin-laurie.jpg Martin

Emphasis on “going green” at home and in the workplace is nothing new, but some — perhaps lawyers in particular — can be slow to implement change. Legal businesses face unique challenges even if they are willing to embrace environmentally sound business practices. For instance, a firm wanting to “go paperless” must determine how to securely store client materials electronically in order to sever ties with bankers boxes of “hard copies” and rows of “paper files” on which law firms have so heavily relied in the past.

Yet legal businesses have significant opportunities to make positive changes for the environmental health of the community — changes which may simultaneously benefit firms’ bottom lines and marketing efforts in the long-run. To encourage and challenge legal businesses to engage in greener business practices, the IndyBar Go Green Committee, a subcommittee of the Young Lawyers Division, has launched the Green Legal Initiative.
ecycle-factbox.gif Legal businesses can join the Green Legal Initiative by submitting a one-page application and pledge indicating that their business is committed to engaging in greener business practices. With the application or at any time after becoming a part of the initiative, members can choose to elevate their Green 

Legal status by submitting an optional Green Business Practice Certification indicating compliance with specific green business practices in six categories: Water Conservation, Energy Conservation, Recycling, Waste and Paper Reduction, Purchasing, and Community Involvement.

Members submitting applications or certifications by September 1, 2012, will be recognized by the IndyBar at the annual Recognition Luncheon and on the IndyBar website, and will also be provided with the IndyBar Green Legal logo for print and electronic use. Members are also eligible for recognition by the 

Indianapolis Bar Association Go Green Committee for outstanding achievement. Visit the Go Green link under the “Resources” tab on the IndyBar homepage for more information and to download the application and certification forms.


go-green-photo-15col.jpg IndyBar volunteers beautify an area of Indianapolis during a community service event with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Watch for details for another opportunity to volunteer with the Go Green Committee and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful this fall!

To kick off the Green Legal Initiative, the Go Green Committee is sponsoring a Drive-Thru E-Cycling event open to IndyBar members and the public, on Friday, August 24, 2012, from 8 a.m. to noon, at Computer Experts, 101 E. Michigan Street. IndyBar volunteers will accept business and household electronic waste — computers, scanners, printers, cell phones, microwaves, VCRs, DVD players, game systems, and other recyclables — for recycling by RecycleForce. Find a complete list of recyclable materials at http://www.recycleforce.org/recycling-services/materials-we-recycle.

In addition to operating the Green Legal Initiative, the Go Green Committee provides education and annual volunteer opportunities to IndyBar members. Visit the Go Green link under the IndyBar.org Resources tab to find the IndyBar Go Green Resource Guide, a source of information for Indianapolis area attorneys and law firms interested in “going green;” Local Go Green Links and Resources; and Green Tips from the IndyBar’s e-Bulletin electronic newsletter. Contact the IndyBar, Laurie Martin, lmartin@hooverhull.com, or Sarah MacGill, smacgill@rbelaw.com, if you are interested in additional information about the Go Green Committee, the Green Legal Initiative, or other upcoming events.•

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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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