Lawyers are now moving toward paperless law offices. But in the quest to limit the use of paper, lawyers often overlook an important equal consideration: limiting the use of staples and, ultimately, ridding the office of these time-honored fasteners. With just a little planning and the adoption of a few key strategies, a stapleless office is easily possible.
Assess Your Staple Supply
Change is possible, but not without sufficient knowledge-based action. The first step in a solid plan is to assess your office’s staple supply. This is easy in a one-person office, but you may have a more complicated situation if you share an office or a supply cabinet. Talk to your colleagues, explain the benefits of a stapleless office, and secure your colleagues’ buy-in to the plan. Some initial preparation and planning will make going stapleless that much easier for everyone in the end.
2. Make a Plan
While your office is going paperless, it may seem hard to deplete an unwanted staple supply. There are a number of quick solutions to make the stapleless transition easier. First, whenever you need to fasten papers together, use an excessive number of staples. Make sure you check your local court rules on filing limitations, but most court procedures do not limit staple use. You can even invent a game or contest with colleagues to see who can use the most staples on memoranda or briefs in opposition. In addition, consider gifting staples to those in your building. If it’s near the holidays, a small box of staples makes a great stocking stuffer, particularly if it is Swingline, a brand often in high demand.
3. Follow Through With Commitment
As you use fewer staples, you may waver on your commitment to rid the office of staples. Stay strong and committed. Like losing weight, it may be easy at first to shed staples in your office but harder later when you want to use them. Remember, however, that staples are a relatively new invention. Prior to the invention of the stapler in the mid-1800s, there were other alternatives available. Wax seals, brass eyelets, pyramid pins and rubber bands work well, as does the simple action of folding back the corner of the combined pages. Though paper clips are not a suitable replacement (I’ll have a future post on this issue), consider stapleless options if you find yourself in a bind and need to fasten papers together quickly.
With these three steps, you can begin the transition toward a stapleless office. Let us know how it works for you. Also, consider raising awareness about this important issue by posting to Twitter that you support the initiative. To do so, simply Tweet here.