Local Information Sharing – QR on Lawyers’ Cards, Bump

There’s been something of a buzz lately among the law marketing crowd about putting QR codes on business cards — typically on the back, because they are ugly. (See, e.g. Shatterbox, Larry Bodine, ABA Journal.) It’s taken a while for this technology to percolate down to lawyers:these pixelated squares have been around for a few years now and mentioned more than once on Slaw: QR Code; Possibilities of Barcodes; QR Codes & Mobile Marketing. The thought is that a contact need only snap a photograph of your QR code to be provided with whatever data you wish, typically the essential contact information that replicates what’s on the printed card.

It seems to me that, ugliness aside, there’s no harm in this and possibly some value; though, it’s a relatively cumbersome way to move data, even across the big divide between print and digital. There’s something obviously kludgy about photographing a business card — 20th century decoding of 19th century photo of 15th century print. But this might have to do until something better comes along such as RFID chips for cards and readers for smartphones, for instance.

Speaking of smartphones, if your client or contact happens to have one, you may even now be able to transfer critical information from your mobile to theirs in a much more efficient way, at least if the phones are iPhones or Android powered. The application Bump (brilliant URL: bu.mp) lets you swap data by actually tapping your phones (or fists holding them) together, provided you have an internet connection at the time. Apparently the data goes from your phone up to Bump’s server, where it seeks out another phone that bumped at the same time in the same location, to which it sends your data. According to Bump, they’re working on extending the app to other operating systems, which will have to include RIM if lawyers are to be able to take advantage of it in any number.


  1. Thanks so much for the mention.

    You’re absolutely right that the QR code is basically a digital Rube Goldberg device, but that it represents a movement toward better interfaces between physical and digital media.

    It’s a waste, though, to go to the trouble of working a QR code into your business card layout only to replicate information from printed card. For years we’ve been able to beam vCard information wirelessly.

    And it’s an underutilization of the application’s potential — sort of like counterfeiting one dollar bills.