Thriving as an Introvert in Law School

Thriving as an Introvert in Law SchoolThis week we welcome back guest writer Julia Gourary to discuss handling law school as an introvert.

Law school is often considered a place where extroverted qualities like assertiveness and outspokenness are valued, and more extrovert-friendly activities like networking and public speaking are vital to success. But what about introverts, who tend to be more reserved and inward-looking, and easily get overstimulated by social situations?

While being introverted in law school can present some challenges, it doesn’t mean you can’t thrive. In fact, introverts possess unique strengths that allow them to excel in many aspects of law school.

Embracing Your Strengths as an Introvert

As an introvert myself, I spent a long time railing against the aspects of my personality I saw as weaknesses. I wondered why I couldn’t be more like my extroverted friends, who easily started up conversations with strangers and were outspoken in group settings. Instead, I listened more than I spoke, rehearsed conversations in my head, and, though I did enjoy being around other people, would at some point definitively reach my limit and need to recharge alone. But recently I’ve begun to see the flipside of being an introvert: while I lack some of the qualities of my extroverted friends, I also have strengths that they don’t. Introverts are highly observant and thoughtful and tend to be empathetic, active listeners—all of which are valuable assets in law school and the legal field. Introverts often excel at written communication, which is a vital skill for legal research and writing assignments, and helpful when writing exams. Introverts’ capacity for deep analysis and focus helps with long hours of parsing through cases, and their reflectiveness allows them to consider all sides of complex legal issues and develop well-crafted arguments. Recognizing and embracing these innate strengths is the first step towards harnessing the power of introversion in law school.

The Importance of Quiet Study Time

Study groups are often touted as the key to academic success in law school, especially in the first year. But introverts may do better with solitary study sessions where they can absorb complex legal concepts on their own. It took me awhile to realize that while many of my extroverted peers may learn best by talking through the material with others, as an introvert I learned best by grappling with it on my own, and then clarifying points of confusion at office hours, TA review sessions, or with other students. The structure of a study group just may not work for you if you’re an introvert, and that’s okay. Instead, allocating dedicated quiet time for reading, case analysis, and outlining allows introverts to harness their capacity for intense concentration.

Networking on Your Own Terms

Networking and building professional relationships during law school is of great importance as you look toward building your career, but it can be daunting for introverts. Large networking events, although not the best place for introverts to make longer-term connections, are very helpful for gaining a sense of a firm or organization, so I would recommend pushing yourself to go to at least a few. I would make myself a goal of talking to at least three different attorneys, after which I gave myself permission to leave if I wanted to. That said, going to several of these events a week definitely drained me, so I would recommend being choosy and zeroing in on places you are actually interested in working.

In terms of building more meaningful professional relationships, however, introverted law students are better off adopting a more deliberate and personalized approach to networking. Seek out smaller gatherings, one-on-one meetings, or join student organizations that align with your interests and attend their events. These settings provide opportunities to engage in deeper conversations, establish genuine connections, and build a professional network that suits your personality.

Giving Yourself Time to Recharge

There is so much going on in law school, with constant professional, club, and social events, that you couldn’t possibly do everything, even if you wanted to do it all. But, while extroverted students might be happy hopping from class to study session to panel to bar review, having so many interactions in one day can be stimulation overload for an introvert. There are some days you might not be able to avoid it, but be firm about protecting your time to recharge and respect your own limits. I know that whenever I didn’t have enough recharging time, I felt irritable and overwhelmed. Designate regular breaks and engage in activities that replenish your energy, like reading for pleasure, meditation, listening to music, or taking walks. Leave the law school between classes for a solo lunch or coffee in the park. For introverts, honoring your need for alone time is essential for maintaining your well-being and sustaining success in law school.

Being an introvert in law school doesn’t have to be a hindrance – it can actually be an advantage! By recognizing and embracing your unique strengths, leveraging your capacity for deep thinking, and finding a balance between social engagement and solitude, you can thrive academically and professionally in law school.


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About Julia Gourary

Julia is a 2L at NYU School of Law. She received her B.A. in Art History from Yale University, where she graduated magna cum laude in December 2021. In addition to writing for Law School Toolbox, she currently works as an LSAT tutor. In her spare time, she enjoys reading novels, doing yoga, and binge-watching reality TV.

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