Is the Business Card Dead?

Or does it just need a defibrillator to resuscitate it?  And then a little cosmetic surgery?Business Cards FKP

As I noted in a recent post, I went to the Kentucky Bar Association’s Annual Meeting with more than 2200 lawyers in attendance.  I also mentioned I would discuss the business cards I received.

Well, the majority of cards I received were so unremarkable they served no purpose in helping me to remember the person who handed them to me.  I certainly wasn’t going to search the internet to see if I could find more information on them hoping they had a LinkedIn account or some other memory jogger. Some were paper thin and bent in my hand. Others had the dreaded scales of justice.  None gave me any information to help jostle my memory after I got back to the office.  None had a space for notes where I could write a memory jogger of my own. For me, they were dead on arrival.

The ones that stood out and are forever etched in my mind are the new cards from FKP (Fogle Keller Purdy) out of Lexington, KY. The only reason I even met Heather Howell (pictured above) was because she was showing her new firm’s card to a fellow attendee and I insisted on having one because they were so cool.  She was a little gun shy about the new cards because they were totally unconventional by having such an up close head shot, but precisely the image her firm is looking to convey. My take away from this card is, while they may be a large firm, they are people-driven first and client-centric. If this is their message,  they are broadcasting it well with the use of contemporary photos of their lawyers.

As for pictures, when I asked the question recently one lawyer responded as follows: “The only lawyer I did remember from the event was the lawyer with their picture on the card.”

business cards FKP - backI do have to say I was not as enamored of the back of this business card because, quite frankly, it was the same old same old. It begged for something ‘different’ on the back such as a statement like ‘How can I help you?’. Now, one might argue that’s solicitation.  But a business card is a ‘calling’ card.  It isn’t just an introduction, it calls for action, or it provides needed information to make someone hold on to it and then act.  But it is a start.

Lawyers should not be fearful about being different with their business cards.  Even more so today, with people using the internet to find you. If you are going to use business cards, let them be meaningful and noteworthy, both a stand out and a keeper.

And to be fair, here are my business cards:

SPU Business Card


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7 comments on “Is the Business Card Dead?

  • That is an interesting approach to placing a picture on a card. It’s there but they still have one side of the card that is more traditional. I think the profession should absolutely try to figure out a way around the business cards that all look the same because cards aren’t going away anytime soon.

    I find that simply by placing a description on the card, you set yourself apart. You may not remember the name but if they do a good job with an elevator speech you will remember that you met an interesting immigration attorney. If the card doesn’t even say their practice area, good luck. Couple that with a unique design and you are much more likely to stand out.

  • I’ll admit, I’m not really enamored of the idea of a photo on the card — but obviously, it worked. I agree with the “stand out from the crowd” approach, so who am I to question the photo, if it works? I was a bit nervous when we decided to use a colorful jigsaw puzzle for our business card. The intent was to emphasize the many puzzle pieces that need to come together to solve the dilemma of climate change, which is what our consulting firm is all about. I thought, at first, it would be too different. So far, I seem to be wrong; I’ve received more positive comments on it than on any previous “normal” business card. For us, it’s been a good thing, so I can’t say the business card is dead — not yet.

  • I always encourage law students who are on a job search to invest in getting business cards, but then I see the standard cards they make using a boring template, that are so boring and traditional. I support them for going out and taking the step, but then wonder how likely it is the recipient will remember them.

    I think in our profession we try to rely on our cards to be “functional” and don’t spend enough time thinking about whether this will help the person we share it with remember us. Susan, I love your space on the back of your card, to place a reminder of how you met. I always write on the back of cards a note about the person who gave it to me. A logistical note for readers, is to consider whether glossy coating on both sides will prevent others from doing the same.

  • Business cards seem a little outdated in this electronic age, but I think we’ll always want something to hand out to prospective clients and fellow lawyers who might not be comfortable with technology.

    I also like to write notes on the cards I receive – where I met, what we discussed, any follow-up, etc – and then scan the card into CardMunch as soon as I can. I love that app because a human being enters the info and also pulls tons of info from that person’s LinkedIn profile, including their picture! I can even request a LinkedIn connection right from the CardMunch contact page. After getting to know my new contact a bit better and seeing who we have in common, I then just click to save the info to my iPhone contacts, which is auto-synced to my Google contacts, which is auto-synced to Clio.

    The pic doesn’t transfer to the other contact databases (I could probably add manually if I was so inclined), but the basic info does, and I still have the pic, LinkedIn profile, and a photo of the business card in CardMunch. I then go into Clio, add my notes, and throw away the card. Technology is a wonderful thing :)

    • Cynthia, sounds like you’ve got this down to a science. I will check out CardMunch because it sounds very efficient. The card isn’t dead, of course. However, without some creativity and more purposeful content, it is a pale shadow of its former self.

  • I have to admit to you a ran out of business cards a few years ago, and I have never replaced them. Which would appear strange since my practice comes from referrals. I do not believe I have lost any business. In those instances where I run into other attorneys that might want to send me work, I collect there information in the way of a business card or typing it out on my cell phone, and then I follow up with sending them an email with my contact information, and placing them on my email blast lists.

  • When I ordered new cards (after launching my virtual law office!), I wanted to try something different so I put my picture on my card. I have only given a couple out to attorneys but all of the potential clients that I give them to LOVE them! They tell me how different it is from the “traditional” cards and also how nice the picture is! I think it is helpful for the clients giving them a face to put with the name. I am not as concerned with what other attorneys think because I want to do something different to make myself stand out from the crowd but the feedback from potential clients has been great so I feel it was a good decision.

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