Can I Be an Introverted Attorney in a Profession that Seems Made for Extroverts?

Being an introvert in a profession that seems made for extrovertsToday we welcome back Christen Morgan, guest writer and foreclosure attorney, to discuss how to handle the legal profession as an introvert.

In a culture that’s permeated by visuals of “the outspoken attorney,” we’ve developed a concept that all attorneys should aspire to be the Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro or Perry Mason type. It has been drilled into our minds that attorneys at the very least must be outgoing in an effort to fight the good fight and win the toughest legal battles within the courtroom. So if you’ve always been a quiet, reserved and overall introverted individual, it’s understood if you feel intimidated about pursuing this career. You may be passionate about the law, but you don’t see yourself arguing a major case before a judge and a jury. Also, while you can envision yourself communicating with clients on a one on one basis, you could never see yourself heading a client meeting with several attorneys and staff members involved. If you’ve experienced these thoughts at some point or another, I implore you to not give up on your attorney dreams just yet. Being introverted is by no means an indicator that you’re not a good lawyer. The stereotypes that we’ve been fed about this profession are simply just stereotypes and is in no way an indicator of a dominant attorney personality trait. The legal profession is filled with individuals from different backgrounds, personalities, and mindsets. I assure you that as an introvert, you are not alone.

Being an introvert in the legal profession is extremely common. In fact, according to a personality test given to 6000 attorneys, about 60% were ranked as introverts. Additionally, being an introvert has proven in some circumstances to be far more beneficial to the legal practice. Still feeling skeptical about your introverted inhibitions? Well here are five benefits to being an introverted attorney:

1. Introverts are great listeners – What more would a client want than an attorney who is listening carefully to their problems? As opposed to being the one who takes over the conversation, an introvert is more likely to hear their client out completely on an issue instead of jumping in prematurely with a plan of attack.

2. Introverts take a deliberate approach to risk – Avoiding risk is perhaps one of the top five functions of an attorney. Therefore, what employer wouldn’t want an attorney who is deliberate in their approach to avoiding risk on behalf of a client? Being a great listener is one of the things that allows attorneys to be so deliberate in their approach to risk. They are able to carefully listen to an issue, assess all sides of the story and the risk factors that can pose a concern and then adequately work to avoid this.

3. Introverts are able to focus deeply on a subject – Introverts are energized by focusing deeply on a subject. As a result, they don’t mind spending long hours on an assignment. Come on, which big law employer wouldn’t want that?

4. Introverts make excellent researchers – An introvert’s ability to focus deeply on a subject makes them excellent researchers. Introverts may be hesitant to practice in the litigation field but being an excellent researcher would certainly make them the go-to associate for a complex litigation case.

5. Introverts are great thinkers – As a great thinker, introverts are constantly analyzing information in their head, in an effort to formulate the most articulate response. An attorney who actually thinks before they speak, could save a law firm millions in the long run.

How do I Get a Job as an Introvert?

Ok, you’re probably thinking, these five benefits are all great, but how can I possibly get a job if I absolutely hate networking and get extremely anxious in a stressful interview setting? Ok, I’ll admit that extroverts probably have an unfair advantage when it comes to networking and making contacts but don’t let that dissuade you. You can still use the benefits I’ve listed above to your advantage in landing a job.

  • Network According to Your Personality Style – As an introvert, attending a traditional networking event may be a bit daunting. An extrovert may shine in this type of setting and, unfortunately, that may block your opportunity to shine. Therefore, attending these events may be a waste of time. So how about networking in a way that benefits you? Informational interviews may be the best networking technique for an introvert. This allows you to have a one on one conversation in a relaxed setting with someone who may be the link to helping you advance your career. You could also take advantage of online networking. Don’t be afraid to reach out to prospective contacts via LinkedIn or even contacts that your career services mentor may have provided.
  • Do Mock Interviews – One way to get over your interview anxiety is to do as many mock interviews as possible. Usually career service offices provide mock interviews for students. It’s usually done in a simulated setting and would provide you with ample opportunity to work through your introverted angst and get comfortable in such a setting. The best part about mock interviews is the opportunity for feedback. Usually, the interviewer will give you direct feedback on where you fell down and tips on how to improve.
What if you End up in Litigation Position?

As an introvert, a transactional position would probably be more favorably suited to your personality type. With that said, you’re probably wondering what you should do if you get an offer for a litigation position. Well, it’s no secret that jobs are extremely difficult to come by in today’s economy, so unless you have another offer on the table you should probably take it. Don’t allow your introverted personality to block this opportunity, because the truth is that you can absolutely thrive within a litigation practice. As an introvert, you should take comfort in your ability to internalize complex material. This internalization will only give you confidence when it’s time to go to trial. By the time you get to trial all you have to do is “fake it til you make it” in order to get the job done. Faking it can actually serve to enhance your performance. So come on, what do you have to lose!


shutterstock_78784651

Concerned about your law school grades? Get the feedback and support you need to succeed.

Check out our law school tutoring options at the Law School Toolbox.

Get started, and ensure you're spending your time wisely!

Got a question? Drop us a line. We're here to help!

You Might Also Like:

How to Go In-House Straight from Law School Today's guest writer discusses how you can make the jump from law school to an in-house position without stopping at a law firm first! If you’ve be...
Why Every Law Student Should Be on Twitter I'll admit that I didn't initially "get" Twitter. Friends had been telling me to sign up for years, but it seemed like a waste of time. When I launche...
Want a Job? Clean Up Your Online Paper Trail Quick question: What comes up when someone searches for your name in Google? Go ahead, try it. (For an accurate look, open up a different browser from...
Subject to Interpretation: Do You Believe in (Fash... Can fashion work magic? In honor of Fashion Week(s) all over the globe lately, I'm pleased to welcome back guest poster Juliana Siconolfi with her tak...
About Christen Morgan

Christen Morgan graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tampa where she received her B.S. in Criminology. She earned her J.D. from Emory Law School where she competed and served as an executive board member for the Emory Law Moot Court Society. Christen also served as a student representative for LexisNexis and also as a mentor for several 1L students offering them advice and a variety of resources to help them through their law school journey.

Christen previously practiced as a Foreclosure Attorney for a Real Estate law firm but has since then transitioned into a Real Estate Specialist role at a wireless infrastructure company.

Comments

  1. Kelly Anders says:

    I discuss this in my article, “‘I’ Before ‘E’, Except in Mediation: Training Introverts to Use Extroverted Techniques to Become Stronger Mediators.” See it here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1313344

  2. Spot on Christen. Most attorneys are introverted, and that’s not necessarily a bad choice. As a child, I was an early reader and have friends but, I needed time to alone to unwind and decompress. I started my career as lawyer 10 years ago and during my early days, I reckon being an introvert helped me to focus on my profession. I knew my responsibilities and I was not shy meeting new peoples, made networking with few important people.

    Best,
    Robert Huth
    https://www.mid-hudsonlaw.com/

    • Christen Morgan says:

      Thank you so much for your feedback! I’m so happy that you’ve detailed your experience. I hope more students will feel comfortable entering the legal field even they are introverted.

Speak Your Mind

*