I’m a loner, law school — a rebel

Winter break’s end is looming, and I’m anxious about going back to school — but not for the reasons you might imagine. I’m eager to return to my clinic, and to start Public Health Law, Mediation, and Feminist Jurisprudence classes. I’m even excited about Albers Moot Court competition and judging and coaching the BU Client Counseling team.

I’m dreading it because I’m that awkward mix — the outspoken introvert. What does that look like? I answer (and ask) a lot of questions in class. I participate in moot court and take on leadership roles. I want to be a litigator or mediator. But I’m most comfortable by myself, in my little personal bubble, most of the time. This means I’m both a good independent worker and decent at participating in meetings, but I need a moment to mentally recharge after the latter. I’ve relished the last few weeks, when I’ve spent most of my time completely alone. I used to call myself “shy,” until a guy in my undergrad psychology class scoffed — “You speak up more than anyone else in the room!” (If any of this self-assessment seems ‘off,’ a short side note: That guy became a TV-friendly Olympian and entrepreneur, yet considered himself shy.)

(Source: "PeeWee's Big Adventure")

(Source: PeeWee’s Big Adventure; clip here)

So, why would I put this out to the world on a BU blog?

First, I want to reassure prospective students: There’s a place for you in the law (and law school), whether you’re a big-voiced future politician, a shy future contract drafter, or somewhere between. My classmates share a few traits: They’re driven, intelligent, and clever. In my experience, introversion/extroversion and academic and career success don’t seem nearly as fatally linked as Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, indicates in the opening chapters of that celebration of introversion. That’s because I don’t quite define “success” the same way she does — power, prestige, fame — but rather as doing your best at the tasks you choose to emphasize in your life. Most people I know, I would guess, are introverts, and very few are famous or even wealthy. Yet I don’t see failure all around me! Will you join us?

Second, I want to reassure myself: I’ve had great jobs and done well up to now, and there’s no reason to let introversion get in my way through the last half of law school. Sure, I might not be the best networker ever to schmooze my way through a Boston Bar Association cocktail hour, but I keep putting myself out there, and I do OK. I enjoy the work I do, and enjoy the people I do it with, and I will continue to do so. Through my introversion, I maintain a kind of independence that leads to originality, creativity, and calm. Success!

And finally, I want to reassure potential employers: Personality type and work ethic are not linked, unless a person’s type is “lazy.” I am anything but, and neither are my classmates. We will put in the work to build client relationships, climb ladders of success, and churn out all the daily output you expect. The writing is on the wall about the shrinking pool of legal jobs, and we want to dive in wherever there’s a bit of open water. Will you have us?

Post a Comment

Your email address is never shared. Required fields are marked *