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Is Law Student Business Card Trend Terrific or ‘Tooltastic’?

Posted Mar 23, 2010 2:45 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Love them or hate them, business cards for law students, which once were unheard of, are a growing trend.

The University of San Diego School of Law, for instance, offers students the opportunity to order official business cards via a career services office web page, and such offers are commonplace at other law schools, too.

Back in 2004, when Anonymous Lawyer author Jeremy Blachman was a student at Harvard Law School, he noted and cringed at the concept of a law student handing out business cards. Even if they are useful to nonpracticing attorneys-to-be, which is doubtful, the idea that a law student has a stack of them at hand is inherently "pompous and ridiculous," he wrote on Jeremy's Weblog in September of 2004.

But others have argued that business cards are a useful tool.

"I thought it was a great idea," Catherine Gellis, a California-based lawyer who graduated from Boston University School of Law in 2006, wrote on Statements of Interest last year. "Business cards are a nice, convenient networking tool that can quickly and concisely convey basic contact information, and, instead of using chintzy, homemade cards, by getting them through the law school, we could take advantage of their sophisticated branding. Who wouldn't want to get these?"

After recent e-mails at Columbia Law School and New York University School of Law about business cards for students, one individual complains to Above the Law that urging students to pay an extra $40 or so for business cards during a down economy, on top of tens of thousands of dollars for tuition, "shocks the conscience."

However, the tabloid legal blog, although it is asking readers to weigh in about whether the business card trend is terrific or "tooltastic," is already lending its support to the concept:

"Showing up to a networking event without business cards is like showing up to a drug deal unarmed," states the ATL post. "If you meet a potential employer, or even just a possible mentor, at a conference or even at a party, do you really want to be scribbling your name and contact info on a cocktail napkin?"

ABAJournal readers, what do you think? Are business cards a necessity for law students, just like interview suits and grade transcripts? Or do they make you look like someone who is trying way too hard?

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