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Toronto ad firm behind darkly humorous divorce lawyer business card

This card will almost makes you want to split up. (Pun intended).

Yes, James A.W. Mahon is a real lawyer.


Yes, James A.W. Mahon is a real lawyer.

It's a brilliant design for an unfortunate life event. A business card for a divorce lawyer that cleverly splits down the middle.  

The calling card is making the rounds online, delighting Reddit users, and popping up as a perennial favourite on design blogs.

Despite the hilarity, this brings us to ask: Who designed it, and is the lawyer on the card – James A.W. Mahon – real, or just a publicity stunt creation?

The perforated card is actually a 2007 creation from a team at John St., a Toronto-based advertising firm.

“We created that years ago, in a previous life,” designer Chris Hirsch told Metro. “It keeps resurfacing on various design blogs over the years. At least once a year we see it somewhere.”

The idea spewed forth from a brainstorming session with design partner Nellie Kim a decade ago. "Ninety-five per cent of business cards are boring," admits Hirsch, who now works at another Toronto branding firm, lg2.

"At one point we just tore out piece of paper in half,” and the idea was born: A business card that tears into two equally redundant halves; one for each spouse."


And yes, James A.W. Mahon is a real lawyer, one who handled divorce cases in the Yukon back in 2007, when the card was designed. He’s since moved on to criminal law in a different province, with a different firm, according to Hirsch.

As for the “first and arguably last” business card he ever helped design, Hirsch has fond memories.

“The concept of divorce while not pleasant one, at least it gave people a bit of a smile.”

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