No Electronic Substitute for Business Cards


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I am a huge proponent of using technology to your advantage as a lawyer. To a degree, technology has made sweeping changes in lawyers practice. Business cards, however, are still an important marketing tool that cannot be replaced.

Your card reflects your personality

Your business card is your calling card, an extension of you and your practice. The design of your card sends a message about your personality. Is your card glossy and annoying? Well, then maybe you are. Is your card modest and to the point? You are probably a relatively reserved lawyer. Creative individuals tend to have more interesting business cards and perhaps more dynamic personalities.

This is relevant because potential clients can pick up on these subliminal clues and may remember you (or not) because of how your card looks. When I am networking, I am always amazed when interesting individuals pull out crummy business cards. People will remember your personality, but your card is a physical reminder of who you are.

Easy to carry, easy to hand out

It drives me crazy when I meet someone and they tell me “email me, it’s [my name] at [my firm].” Look, if I just met you, I will probably forget your name. If I remember it, I will probably spell it wrong. Worse yet, some firm websites are difficult to navigate, and difficult to find people.

Handing someone a card takes approximately three seconds. Pulling out your smartphone and typing in an email address can be cumbersome, and you have to ask people how to spell their name, etc. It is not nearly as convenient as taking a card and putting it in your pocket.

Carrying a nice card makes you look good, and easy to get in touch with, which is what networking is all about.

(photo: mringlein)


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  • Lisa Solomon

    At one point, I tried using a smartphone application called Dub ( to exchange contact information. At a networking event I attended, I made sure to get everyone’s e-mail address and sent them my contact information, along with an invitation to use the app. Only a small percentage of the people to whom I sent an invitation with my information responded with their contact information.

    I’ve now gone back to using my (glossy) business cards.

  • Great points Randall, but could I add a few?

    1. It’s easy to make a good-looking business card. You can make them online at Vista Print for free (if you don’t mind the Vista Print logo on the back) or $20 bucks or so for 250 without the logo. Fed Ex Kinkos also has great stuff, and you can physically go to one of their locations to get someone to help you with it.

    2. Once you’ve got someone’s business card, don’t let it sit there! That, for me, is the biggest problem that lawyers and any professionals have with business cards. They do a great job of getting theirs out there (and I agree that is super important), but once they collect them, the cards sit, unused in desk drawers for months, until it’s too late to use the card to reconnect.

    Once you have someone’s card, connect with them on LinkedIn! Then you have a virtual resume to remind yourself of how you know them, and you can continue to connect through your and their status updates. You can even (I give you permission) throw away the business card once you have connected with the individual on that site. Note – make sure that your LinkedIn page is up to par before you make the request.

    Also use that card to remind yourself to call them for a coffee date. Stick it on your desktop computer until you’ve made the coffee date as a daily reminder.

    3. Add your LinkedIn account and Twitter page (if it’s for business) to your business card. Show your clients/colleagues/connections that you want to connect with them in as many ways as possible, and that you’re technologically savvy and accessible. It can’t hurt.

  • Randall Ryder

    @ Leora – those are all great tips, and I would people to follow your advice. I am not a huge fan of LinkedIn, but finding someway to immediately connect with them is sound advice.

    When I get a news businesscard, I scan it (we are paperless), and then try and email the person within a week or so to have lunch. When I am slammed, I just put a reminder on my calendar to touch base a couple weeks down the road.

  • Leora, has your firm allowed you to put your LinkedIn page or Twitter feed on your business card?

  • i agree that business cards are one of those no-tech solutions that serve a unique purpose very well – getting a new acquaintance your contact information. But I’m not convinced that sexy business cards lead to more business. The only thing I ever think when I get a fancy business card is “Wow, she spent a lot on her business cards.” I’ve never been more or less likely to contact people for coffee or hire them for something because I liked their business cards. It’s the conversation you have with someone before and after you give them your card that makes you memorable, not the card.

    • @Eric
      I don’t recall that I’ve ever followed up with someone because of their high quality business cards, but I do occasionally NOT follow up with people who have exceptionally low quality cards.

      For some businesses it doesn’t matter to me at all, but if someone is trying to present themselves as a trusted professional and are handing out free Vista Print cards, or homemade inkjet tear-apart cards, I sometimes think twice before making the effort.

  • I agree with both Eric and Aaron. A decent card is a must, but a fancy card is unnecessary.

  • Randall Ryder

    @ Eric – I don’t necessarily think creative or dynamic business cards equal “sexy.” Creative be can be simple (like the card in the picture). The conversation before or after, as you note, is also very important.

    @ Aaron – I agree that obviously substandard business cards can be a detriment. As Eric points out, not enough to negate a meaningful conversation, but it certainly makes an impact.

  • @Sam I actually haven’t yet asked my firm if I can put my Twitter or LinkedIn account on my business card. I don’t think I’d want to put my Twitter account there, but LinkedIn definitely. The problem with that is, once some attorneys have it on their business card, do all attorneys at a firm have to also create LinkedIn profiles and post those links on their business cards? If so, that’s an extra task for marketing to deal with. If not, doesn’t that look inconsistent if some attorneys have the link and others don’t?

    Twitter is still too pseudo-personal I think to be on my card. If someone googles me, they’ll find it, but putting it on the firm business card seems to give firm affirmation to what’s posted on the site. Don’t you think?