9 Ways Freelance Court Reporters Can Go Green

gogreenIf you haven’t already noticed, the theme for all of our articles this month has been about the environment and how various professionals in the legal industry can use technology to achieve a better future for generations to come.    

We have provided tips for helping your clients go paperless, educated attorneys on how to reduce their carbon footprint with remote litigation technology, and offered advice to court reporting firms on how to maintain a green agency.  In our final article for April we are going to discuss how freelance court reporters can do their part to improve the world around us by going green.

As a freelance court reporter you are technically considered self-employed.  You are your own boss, you make your own rules; basically the company you work for is you.  And although you are not a large organization filled with hundreds of eco-friendly employees, as an individual there is a lot that you can do to go green, as well as have a positive impact on the environment. 

  1. Offer “Green Transcripts” – When your client orders a transcript, offer it to them in an electronic format, such as a PDF. This will eliminate hundreds of pages having to be printed out, and save a few trees in the process.
  2. Print out all transcripts double-sided – When you must supply a hard copy paper version of a transcript, print it out using both the front and back of a piece of paper. This will reduce your paper consumption by 50%.
  3. Turn off computers at night – Going green is not just about cutting back on paper or recycling. Reducing the amount of energy used each day is just as important.  Computers use up a lot of energy, even when they are in “energy saving mode”.  When at home during the evening editing a transcript, remember to turn the computer off when you are done.  An even easier thing to do is plug all of your electronic devices into power strips, which you can easily turn off at the end of the day. 
  4. Change how you commute to work – For freelance reporters living in larger cities, look into changing the way you commute to your jobs. Are you able to carpool with another colleague, is the job close enough to walk to, what are your public transportation options?  Cutting back on the amount of driving you do to get from point A to point B will reduce the amount of gas consumed, as well as the carbon emissions released into the air.
  5. Use file sharing websites – Another way to cut back on paper usage is to utilize file sharing websites like DropBox or Google Docs.  Instead of printing or maintaining paper files, these websites allow you to store and share important documents in the “cloud”.
  6. Recycle old items – Rather than putting your old informational books and instruction manuals in the trash pile, think about donating them to a student or a local workforce development group. This also applies to old laptops, printers, steno machines, and other office equipment.  What once benefited you and helped improve your skills can benefit another reporter just as much.
  7. Reuse old file folders – If you haven’t gone to a fully digital filling system, chances are you use those tan folders to organize all your files.  Next time you run out of folders, don’t run to the store to buy another box, reuse the ones you have.  All you need to do is flip the folder inside out and you have a fresh folder and tab to use.
  8. Offer realtime streaming – Is there a litigation event coming up that your client or other parties from out of town will need to attend?  Offer to stream your realtime to their location so they don’t have to travel. 
  9. Replace all home office lighting with energy efficient lights – Freelance court reporters do a lot of work from home, usually into the wee hours of the night.  Switching out your current light bulbs and replacing them with energy efficient bulbs, will cut back on your energy usage and decrease your monthly energy.  It’s a win, win!

Making an impact by going green is not just limited to big business and court reporting firms.  Self-employed professionals like freelance court reporters can do their part as well.  All of the above suggestions are simple changes that can easily be implemented.  Everyone has the opportunity to do their part in saving the environment.  If you haven’t already started, the time is now!