Dressing the Part

Halloween is quickly approaching. A night filled with all sorts of sweets, plenty of parties, and more costumes than one could ever imagine. It can be a lot of fun to dress up and go out with friends. Putting on a mask allows us to become someone else and adopt a new personality for the evening. More importantly, a law student can learn a valuable lesson by taking part in the masquerade.

We all have a variety of personas. How we choose to represent ourselves depends on our circumstances. Who is around us, what we’re doing, and where we are all play a part in how we tailor our behavior. It’s a good thing, really, as one of the most important networking skills is being able to adapt to different social settings.

People act a certain way around their family and another way around their friends. You might behave differently when speaking to one of your peers than to a professor. It’s natural to behave more or less formally depending on the situation. This allows us to communicate in a way that is more socially appropriate, more comfortable for us, and more effective overall.

Having a collection of various personalities is useful for lawyers, as they often engage with all types of people in all kinds of places. A lawyer should have a persona to deal with clients, a persona for negotiations, a persona that fits with the law firm they work in, a courtroom persona, and of course a persona for socializing both personally and professionally. Our true personality will help shape each of these, even as it is adapted to fit the needs of the time.

Just like you would change your outfit to conform to the dress code of an event, putting on the right persona can make all the difference. Find one that fits who you are on the inside and your true character will shine through. Picking the right costume can take a long time, but when you finally decide on one that works for you it will feel like you were meant to wear it.

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