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Kids buy them for the gum. The Pentagon uses them to keep track of fugitives. And Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich partners study them to remember the names of summer associates. They’re trading cards. They fit in the palm of your hand and connect a name with a face. And in a play on vital stats, Gray Cary’s cards reveal which future lawyers enjoy glass blowing, drag racing and reading the autobiographies of athletes — in addition to providing information on their educational background. The firm’s recruiting department sent the deck of 17 summer associate trading cards to its lawyers June 1, when the new employees began the program. The group of nine men and eight women are spread among the firm’s East Palo Alto, San Diego, San Francisco and Austin, Texas, offices. The cards replaced the firm’s traditional “bio book.” Silicon Valley partner Diane Holt Frankle said the cards are more fun than the book, if a bit more cumbersome. “The cards are great, to the extent that you’re welcoming these folks,” she said. And the summer associates “are a good-looking bunch and diverse in a lot of ways. I like having them on my team.” Maureen “Chi-Chi” Onyeagbako, a University of Michigan Law School student whose interests include acrobatics and watching plays, said she was happily surprised when George Limbach, an of counsel in East Palo Alto, recognized her at a firm function. “He had the deck of cards in his shirt pocket,” said Onyeagbako, also in Silicon Valley. “He cared who we were.” Another benefit: Partners call her by her nickname, Chi-Chi, rather than Maureen, which is used only by strangers and the nuns that were her elementary school teachers. “If you call me Maureen, you don’t know who I am,” she said. Ryan Thompson, a San Francisco summer associate whose interests include road biking and volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of America, said his class ribbed one another about their vital stats during orientation, which can be an anxiety-producing time. “It definitely lightened things up,” he said. Onyeagbako agreed, noting that her peers grabbed one another’s cards and joked about whose would be worth big bucks in the future. “Somebody said they’d sell my card on eBay when I became famous.” But not everyone was pleased with the cards. Apparently some associates are more photogenic than others. Said Onyeagbako, “Not everyone looks like their picture.”

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