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Should Law Students Hand out Business Cards?

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on January 18, 2016 5:59 AM

Do law students need business cards? The short answer is "yes." The long answer is is "no-with-a-but." Even though it's not exactly a necessity to get business cards while in law school, there are some compelling reasons to consider getting some.

First, Do Lawyers Need Business Cards Anymore?

I mean c'mon. We're steeped in the world of the IoT and everyone has a virtual office in his pocket right now. A quick text and all of your contact information is exchanged lickity-split. Who needs paper anymore?

The truth is that fewer and fewer attorneys are relying on physical business cards to get their contact information around. But in a previous piece we wrote, attorney Mark Wilson presciently points out that lawyers -- for better or worse -- must keep up appearances. We are expected to show up in a suit, and we're expected to have business cards. Period.

Plus, as Mark points out, it's not as if the smartphone easy-contact-craze ever really took off. Remember Bump? You see what we mean.

Do Law Students Need Business Cards?

This one is a little trickier, but the answer is probably yes. But that answer comes with an asterisk.

Sometime during my 2L year, I ordered a couple hundred business cards in bulk because the price was right. At that time, I was also actively networking.

As it turned out, most of my contacts were younger to middle-aged attorneys who didn't want to bother with little bits of paper in their pockets. Even though the attorneys at networking events had business cards, only a few of the students were similarly equipped. The general impression was that some attorneys didn't expect the 2Ls and 3Ls to have them. Other attorneys (including the older ones) thought the idea of law students having business cards was presumptuous and laughable. And that opinion is echoed elsewhere.

This is probably what will happen. You will buy many more than you need. However, ideally there will be at least one hit will make all the difference. I can think of two contacts my business cards hooked.

Destination: Recycle Bin

Of course, you're going to have to accept that a massive percentage of your cards will end up doing nothing for you besides annoying the recipient. It's incumbent upon the law student to initiate and maintain contact with the attorney -- not the other way around. Let's just say this: you don't want to end up not having a card when a older (and influential) attorney asks you for one.

The Answer? Yes.

So, the answer is probably yes -- at least for now. You will probably end up like me, using up less than three percent of your supply of business cards. But as a student, all you need is one or two hits with attorneys who actually like business cards. And that's how good things happen.

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