There's no worse feeling than going to a networking or social event, then forgetting your business cards. How gauche! How unprofessional! You have to resort to scribbling your email address on whatever scrap of paper you can find, while all the other lawyers compare business cards a la "American Psycho."
And then you wonder, "Do we even need business cards anymore?" The answer is: Yes. Yes, we do.
Beam It to Me
What's the alternative to business cards? For years, smart phone manufacturers have promised gimmicky ways to share contact information, whether it's touching phones or sending the information from across the room. But those methods look easier than they are.
For one thing, they're proprietary. An iPhone can "airdrop" information only to another iPhone. An Android can use "S beam" only to share information with another Android. (This incompatibility is not an accident, by the way.) Business cards are platform-neutral -- because they're paper.
What's That, Sonny?
Look: Many lawyers either don't embrace technology, don't want it, or both. If you come to an event hoping to beam your stuff all over the room, you'll be in for a shock: Most of the people there won't know how to use fancy gadgets to send information, and they don't care enough to learn. Business cards are easy to understand and no one has to learn new technology.
Business Cards Aren't Expensive
Whether you go with ultra-cheap business cards from VistaPrint, or slightly pricier -- but still pretty inexpensive -- cards from Moo.com, business cards aren't a huge investment. They should be considered a necessity like pens and paper. (If you find yourself going through hundreds of business cards each year, maybe don't put so many in the free lunch jar.) And firms will pay for them, anyway.
It's Just Expected
Like wearing a suit to court, it's expected that all of us carry a few business cards at all times. It's how we, as a species, share our contact information. It doesn't require writing or typing on a phone -- you just swap cards and call it a day.
"That's the way we've always done it" is never a good reason for continuing a practice, but in the law, that sometimes has to be good enough. The billable hour makes even less sense than business cards, but we still do it, anyway. Until you're the senior partner in a major firm, just do what everyone else is doing and keep handing out those business cards.