By Lisa Willis for Law.com
Attorneys use business cards almost more than any other profession in America. They come second to Realtors, according to a recent survey by one national business card printer. With just under 10 billion business cards printed annually, 8 billion will be tossed within a week. That’s 88% of cards printed, according to CreditDonkey.
That’s why an attorney is challenging the need for the omnipresent paper calling cards in this post-COVID day and age. He thinks it’s a wakeup call to firms to get on board with this type of new technology.
But some are warning the new technology might bring novel risks for attorneys and their law firms.
‘Scan a Plastic Card’
“I’m finding more and more people are finding that the business card is going the way of the dinosaurs. I think 10 years from now, no one is going to have, or at least most people, aren’t going to have a traditional business card,” said Francisco “Frank” Ramos Jr., partner of Clarke Silverglate in Miami, where he practices commercial litigation and catastrophic personal injury, posting daily on social media about trends that are helpful to his clients and colleagues. “I hear lawyers telling other lawyers to connect with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, or they use a single card others can scan.”
Other methods have taken the place of the paper business cards, which Ramos thinks are becoming increasingly obsolete.
“Personally, I haven’t handed out a business card in years,” he said. “I do ask folks to connect on LinkedIn, or have them scan a plastic card I have.”
Since the pandemic began in 2020, Ramos noted that people didn’t shake hands anymore, and giving out actual business cards became somewhat of an anathema.
Ramos said, “People just introduced each other online, and we met and got to know each other through Zoom and phone calls and direct messages and text messages, and I think that’s here to stay.”
Is It Generational?
Ramos said Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, for the most part, don’t want to switch to electronic cards.
“They’re really missing out,” he said. “But that’s their choice.”
Gen Xers, though, born 1965-1980, are more flexible and open to ditching paper business card handouts for single e-cards, such as those by DOT or those with QR codes to scan for no-contact information sharing.
“I never ask for a business card, and don’t know what to do with them when others hand me theirs,” Ramos said.
‘Doesn’t Mean That It’s Better’
Father-and-son attorneys Beau and Edward Blumberg with Deutsch Blumberg & Caballero in Miami have a few decades between them and varying opinions.
Each has his own take on the evolution of the business card that’s been around longer than their combined ages.
“I think there’s room for both,” says Beau Blumberg. “It’s still nice to have a business card when needed, especially when a customer asks for a business card. But I do think it’s no longer the primary necessary thing it once was.”
The younger Blumberg thinks the new cards offer a lot more options than in the past.
“Now you can easily transfer that same amount of information or more information via a QR code or simple text message that gets you way more information to the other person than a business card,” he said.
His father is aware of the preservation of tradition while accommodating new technology.
“Just because the technology exists, doesn’t mean that it’s better. Sometimes the tried-and-true version actually works better, even if there’s an alternative that’s new,” Edward Blumberg said.
But the older lawyer is questioning the safety of instant information sharing to law firms.
“Technology has its own inherent problems and glitches that have not yet been ironed out,” Edward Blumberg said. “The conventional wisdom is probably that technology will far surpass and supplant any of the traditional ways.”
“It may be that because of glitches, such as identity theft, phishing, spoofing, those kind of cybersecurity issues, it may ultimately be that the traditional ways are safer and may come back into vogue,” he added. ”The technology just does not yet exist to protect us all from the cybercriminals. They are so clever.”
The older Blumberg thinks the “old-fashioned ways” have their benefits too, and that new single-use business cards with built-in technology to share with others can be a curse and a blessing.
Blumberg said, “The old-fashioned way of picking up the phone or hand delivering, using fax or even Federal Express, or mail, can in certain instances, be the safer approach, because you’re assured of making a communication that you want to make without being hijacked for some improper purpose.”