Law School Discussion

Law Students => Job Search => Topic started by: needanswers on November 01, 2005, 03:21:00 AM

Title: Student Business Cards
Post by: needanswers on November 01, 2005, 03:21:00 AM
I'm curious about what both law students and professionals think about law students with business cards.

If you are in law school, does your school offer them? What do you think about them?

If you are a lawyer, what do you think about law students who have them?

Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: jacy85 on November 01, 2005, 10:29:27 AM
My school strongly suggested we buy them, and the student bar association took orders.  They suggest that we use them for networking in looking for jobs and things like that, since it's a bit more professional to hand someone a business card than scribble your email/phone number on a napkin.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: dft on November 01, 2005, 03:36:07 PM
For purposes of networking, how do you think business cards stack up against plain old resumes though?

My school strongly suggested we buy them, and the student bar association took orders.  They suggest that we use them for networking in looking for jobs and things like that, since it's a bit more professional to hand someone a business card than scribble your email/phone number on a napkin.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: jacy85 on November 01, 2005, 04:43:35 PM
You don't carry around copies of your resume with you.  And if you do, you should stop.

Networking is more than what you're thinking, I suspect.  Networking happens anywhere.  If you go to a wedding over break (maybe you're cousin's wife's father is a partner in a firm), or your mom's best friend has a legal connection, or an old college buddy has some impressive legal ties, etc. etc. you'll want to leave them with something so they can maybe help you out.  You aren't likely going to have a resume on hand to give to these people if you run into them on the street or a wedding or something.

A business card is easier and more convenient for all involved.  I think the most common thing that happens is your contact will use the info you provide to give you the relevant info you need to send your resume along to whoever it is they know.

That, and let's just fact it:  Handing out resumes to random people you meet at bar/law school event, parties, weddings, etc.  is just retarded.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: Ajude on November 01, 2005, 07:26:38 PM
"Handing out resumes to random people you meet at bar/law school event, parties, weddings, etc.  is just retarded."

As is handing out business cards when you don't have a business.  You might as well hand out notes that say "Please leave this in your pants pocket so it can be destroyed by your dry cleaner."  The better approach at such events is to ask for the business cards of the folks that you are talking with and follow up with an e-mail or a letter. 
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: jacy85 on November 01, 2005, 08:03:00 PM
Not according to career services, and not according to many people who may come across a contact that might be useful to you, but have no way of getting in touch with you.

A business card isn't meant to sell your business.  It's an aid to sell yourself, and that's what networking is all about.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: CheezWiz on November 01, 2005, 08:48:17 PM
$.02

If you are interested in having an additional resource then I would suggest getting them.  However, like any tool you need to know how to properly use them or you might as well not have them at all.

(1) Do not – DO NOT – go around giving your card to every tom male private part and firm partner you come into contact with.  The proper time to give your card is when you are ASKED for your information.  “Let’s talk, what’s your e-mail address” or “I’ll send you an application, where can I mail it?”

(2) Get as many business cards from OTHER people as you can.  Write a little something about them on the back.  Follow up.  You are a lot more likely to contact a practicing lawyer after a luncheon or a forum then they are to contact you.

(3) When you follow up with a letter and resume, add your business card.  Many lawyers will file or forward resumes as a matter of course but will give a business card to their secretary to add to their contact list.

(4) Just because you can get as many colors or pattern or pictures as you’re little 1L heart pleases for the same price please dear goodness remember your going to be a lawyer no granite backgrounds, no rainbows, no pictures (vanity kills), an no flashy colors.  Use one or two colors, a simply icon if you choose, a conservative font… if it does not look like something a firm would give out, you shouldn’t either
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: dft on November 01, 2005, 09:31:28 PM
I once went to a seminar on business cards. Couple of things they said:

1) Always use both sides, whether your a business or a student. They said you might as well make use of the other side, and they had several ideas of stuff to put on the back.

2) For students, one idea of what to put on the back was a mini-resume, which I thought was a pretty good idea (obviously use pretty small font).

Any dissent is welcome.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: Ajude on November 01, 2005, 10:26:01 PM
My dissent:

MP: I am saddened by the fact that you attended a seminar on business cards.

Jacy: Your career services office is wrong.  Unemployed people should not have business cards. 
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: dft on November 02, 2005, 08:31:53 AM
i was in a "small business marketing" seminar course junior year in college. it was more of a practical experience than a real course. our primary assignment was to consult/advise a small business in the area and to write up a marketing plan for them. so chill.

My dissent:

MP: I am saddened by the fact that you attended a seminar on business cards.

Jacy: Your career services office is wrong.  Unemployed people should not have business cards. 
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: margee on November 02, 2005, 09:12:22 AM
It's not unprecedented for people to have cards that aren't from their employer.  They used to be called calling cards, and the idea is getting to be pretty popular again.  I know lots of people that have personal "business cards," and I find them to be very helpful. 

For example, I was talking to my hair dresser the other day, and he suggested that I call him regarding whatever we were talking about.  His personal numbers aren't on his business card, so he whips out his personal card.  Very handy for him and for me.  No rummaging for a pen required.

I agree that they must be used properly - only give when asked.

I also think it's a great idea to use the back.  The mini resume is tricky, though, I've seen several that have TMI.  Less is more.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: Ajude on November 02, 2005, 10:35:12 AM
The OP asked for input from law students and attorneys.  I appreciate the fact that law students who are offering advice may have different opinions.  I am an attorney and I would honestly think that a law student who had a "business card" was desparate and ridiculous.  If I meet you at an event and you want to follow up with me, giving me your card is not going to help unless I want to follow up with you as well.  If I want to follow up with you, I will give you my card.  I cannot remember ever being in a situation where I wanted to get a person's contact information but was thwarted (or even inconvenienced) by the lack of a pen.  I certainly would not think any better of a person who had a business card.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: RoniDeutch on November 02, 2005, 10:46:20 AM
i agree with ajude. my law school offers them and they are tacky. they make you appear to be a "networking whore". picture this...you are at a fancy party with numerous attys. you strike up a very stimulating and meaningful conversation with one of them. at the conclusion of the exchange, he/she asks if they can have your email/phone number, so you can talk again sometime. well...."have no fear...i have a business card on my person for times like this!!". it makes you look like you engage in conversations with people, in order to use them for any profesional benefits they can offer you. its like constantly carrying around condoms in your pocket. people think you just want to walk around and get laid.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: margee on November 02, 2005, 11:04:13 AM
I agree to a certain extent with Ajude and RoniDeutch (way to straddle the fence, hun?)

They must be used VERY judiciously.  There are definitley places/times where using them will make you look like a pretentious dork.  There are also times when they will be seen in a very positive light.  You have to know your audience and environment.  I would say that it probably varies by city and even within cities.  Certain groups of people will approve.  Others won't.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: jacy85 on November 02, 2005, 11:09:52 AM
Assuming that someone is going to just whip out a personal/business card at every possible moment is ridculous and unrealistic.

However, someone who does request your contact info will be much more likely to hang on to a business card then some random scrap of paper or a napkin with your email address on it, aside from the fact that its just more convenient.

I don't think anyone is suggesting handing them out like candy at Halloween, contrary to what Ajude and Roni seem to think.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: RoniDeutch on November 02, 2005, 11:36:45 AM
hand them out like candy??? my scenario of being at a swanky atty party makes it very clear that its not the QUANTITY of cards handed out, but the rude and IMPERSONAL connotation it gives. if someone im interested in hands me a napkin or scrap of paper with their info on it i hang on to it and then transcribe it in to my cell phone or personal planner. if someone handed my their personal business card, i would think they are pathetic and desperate. do you hand out business cards to prospective paramours? lets imagine meeting someone of romantic interest in a public place. would you hand our your business card with all your personal attributes that you would make a good romantic partner? its very contrived and impersonal.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: jacy85 on November 02, 2005, 01:05:35 PM
I hope you don't really compare business/networking contacts in the same way you do possible romantic partners.  That could lead to some really embarassing situations at the office.
 
And how does a business card with your name, phone number, and email = information about your personal attributes that make you a good romantic partner/employee/etc.??

If you're referring to putting a little "resume" on the back, I concur, that's just ridiculous and very contrived. pointless.

But handing someone a card with your contact information as opposed to a hastily scribbled-on napkin is just more professional.  A potential business contact is in no way comparable to a potential paramour.  Why would you get so offended by someone using a widely accepted (and often expected) business practice for giving someone your contact information?

If you judge someone for that as being "pathetic and desperate" then you are truly pathetic and desparate yourself, finding whatever reason possible to make yourself feel superior to others.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: Ajude on November 02, 2005, 01:37:11 PM
Jacy, to say that it is a widely accepted (and often expected) practice for law students to hand out "business cards" is simply false.  If you are saying that it is widely accepted in other contexts, then the comment is irrelevant. 

However, networking is largely about confidence and if having a business card makes you feel more confident, then by all means, use a business card.  My comment is merely that nobody will think less of you or think that you are less "professional" if you do not have a business card.           
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: dft on November 02, 2005, 03:08:41 PM
I don't know if anyone else has said this, but in reponse to AJude:

1) What are you doing on this board if you're an attorney? Nothing against you, it's just a bit strange. And,

2) While your perspective MAY be more valuable because you are a practicing attorney, your opinion alone does not establish conclusively that all practicing lawyers see no value in a law student having business cards. There very well may be many (or at least some) practicing lawyers who think it's valuable and/or practical.

Not that I completely disagree with you -- I'm not quite sure. I just felt like making those points.

The OP asked for input from law students and attorneys.  I appreciate the fact that law students who are offering advice may have different opinions.  I am an attorney and I would honestly think that a law student who had a "business card" was desparate and ridiculous.  If I meet you at an event and you want to follow up with me, giving me your card is not going to help unless I want to follow up with you as well.  If I want to follow up with you, I will give you my card.  I cannot remember ever being in a situation where I wanted to get a person's contact information but was thwarted (or even inconvenienced) by the lack of a pen.  I certainly would not think any better of a person who had a business card.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: dft on November 02, 2005, 03:09:53 PM
i think you also have a point.

i agree with ajude. my law school offers them and they are tacky. they make you appear to be a "networking whore". picture this...you are at a fancy party with numerous attys. you strike up a very stimulating and meaningful conversation with one of them. at the conclusion of the exchange, he/she asks if they can have your email/phone number, so you can talk again sometime. well...."have no fear...i have a business card on my person for times like this!!". it makes you look like you engage in conversations with people, in order to use them for any profesional benefits they can offer you. its like constantly carrying around condoms in your pocket. people think you just want to walk around and get laid.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: RoniDeutch on November 02, 2005, 04:57:02 PM

"If you judge someone for that as being "pathetic and desperate" then you are truly pathetic and desparate yourself, finding whatever reason possible to make yourself feel superior to others."



so, the pot is calling the kettle black! why such the virulent attack??? didnt you learn how to interact with people on the playground in kindergarten? you have some deep rooted issues, which have surfaced in numerous posts. everything you say is insulting. stick to the topic.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: jacy85 on November 02, 2005, 05:07:38 PM

"If you judge someone for that as being "pathetic and desperate" then you are truly pathetic and desparate yourself, finding whatever reason possible to make yourself feel superior to others."

 stick to the topic.

I was sticking to the topic.  I'm sorry you don't like having your words thrown back at you.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: RoniDeutch on November 02, 2005, 06:27:46 PM
cant you be nice to people??? what law school do you go to? are you the a-hole that sits alone at lunch b/c everyone hates you?
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: dft on November 02, 2005, 09:59:05 PM
guys guys. cant we act like civilized people here?

 :o
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: RoniDeutch on November 02, 2005, 10:03:37 PM
im done...i just dont like people who want to make their point by insulting others. anyways...student business cards SUCK!!!
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: Ajude on November 03, 2005, 08:03:44 AM
MP: I agree that it is strange that I still check this board.  In my defense, I am still a student (LLM program).  Also, the founder of the website is a good friend, so I became accustomed to checking while I was in school and never stopped.  From my perspective I am able to see that alot of the advice that is being doled out by law students, while probably well intentioned, is more for the benefit of the advisors.  In other words, I think alot of folks use these boards to make themselves feel more secure in choices that they have made.  For example, I have seen threads where people say that you must bring a laptop to class.  This is simply not the case.  I knew plenty of folks who either took notes in a notebook or didn't take notes at all and did well.  Anyone who tells a curious student that they need a laptop either: (a) works for Best Buy or (b) bought a laptop and want to feel as though they made the "correct" decision, whatever that means.  I believe that this thread is similar. 

As to your second point, if you reread my posts, except for the last post, I think it is clear that my comments are based on my own experience.  If they came off as universal truths, I apologize; that was not my intention.
Title: Re: Student Business Cards
Post by: ruskiegirl on November 03, 2005, 11:45:37 AM
MP: I agree that it is strange that I still check this board.  In my defense, I am still a student (LLM program).  Also, the founder of the website is a good friend, so I became accustomed to checking while I was in school and never stopped.  From my perspective I am able to see that alot of the advice that is being doled out by law students, while probably well intentioned, is more for the benefit of the advisors.  In other words, I think alot of folks use these boards to make themselves feel more secure in choices that they have made.  For example, I have seen threads where people say that you must bring a laptop to class.  This is simply not the case.  I knew plenty of folks who either took notes in a notebook or didn't take notes at all and did well.  Anyone who tells a curious student that they need a laptop either: (a) works for Best Buy or (b) bought a laptop and want to feel as though they made the "correct" decision, whatever that means.  I believe that this thread is similar. 

As to your second point, if you reread my posts, except for the last post, I think it is clear that my comments are based on my own experience.  If they came off as universal truths, I apologize; that was not my intention.

I thank you for taking the time to check in and give us some perspective "from the other side."  I think some law students and pre-laws would be much better served if they extracted their heads from their asses and took a little time to listen to someone with experience.  Although your experiences may not represent a universal truth, I think that those experiences are much closer to the truth than anything a law student defiantly (and ignorantly) believes.  Just my two cents.  Thanks again for being here.