The Sustainable Future Section works at the evolving interface between the legal profession and the societal goal of sustainability. Programs, therefore, are not confined to discrete areas of substantive law, which might be better addressed by other OSB sections.
The Program Committee develops programs in the following areas:
- Essential knowledge. Knowledge that will broaden a lawyer’s understanding of a topic important to clients and prospective clients. (Example: Green building trends that go beyond LEED and the process for certification.)
- Practice skills. Information that might be used directly in the practice of law. (Example: Federal regulations that govern green washing.)
- Point-counter point. Topics of special interest in a personal or professional sense. (Example: Debate on whether the Oregon constitution should be amended to protect rights of future generations.)
- Basic training. In-depth conversations to deepen personal understanding of matters pertinent to the societal goal of sustainability. (Example: The projected biotic impact of global warming on Oregon forests.)
- Office practices. Occasional programs to describe practices that might be adopted within a law office setting. (Example: Monetary, hiring, and morale benefits that flow from sustainable office practices.)
ABA Award for 2013 Programming
On August 11, 2013, the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) honored the Sustainable Future Section with its 2013 State or Local Bar Environment, Energy, and Resources Program of the Year Award. The award recognizes the best continuing legal education program or public service project of the year focused on issues in the field of environmental, energy, or natural resources law. The SEER award recognizes the Sustainable Future Section as the first state bar section in the United States organized around the concept of sustainability rather than a specific body of substantive law or an area of practice. The award was based on the wide array of Section programs during 2012, including continuing legal education, newsletters, the Partners in Sustainability program, leadership awards, study groups, and a presentation at the mid-year National Association of Bar Executives meeting. In giving the award, SEER noted the Section’s role in examining the integration of law and environmental sustainability and fostering dialogue about how the law relates to the needs and interests of future generations.