By Rebecca Fiss • December 20, 2013•Writers in Residence
This is my last post of 2013! In honor of a year of exploring options and advice for introverted law students, I want to devote this post to some closing thoughts on what I’ve learned this year.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself as a law student and an introvert is to recognize that your personality is not a disability. So what if you don’t thrive in the same situations your classmates do? (See, e.g., networking events.) You have strengths that the gregarious extrovert does not. You’re probably better at analysis and thinking through issues than your quick-to-talk classmate is; you have better odds of being a good writer. So my first piece of overall advice for introverted law students is this: stop focusing on the things you wish you were good at and focus on the things you ARE good at. It may help to check out some books on introversion, like Susan Cain’s Quiet or Jennifer Kahnweiler’s Quiet Influence, which can help you identify your strengths. This will also help you in interviewing: you’ll be ready to talk about what you’re good at rather than scrambling to draw attention away from the skills you’re still struggling with. (And if you hate self-promotion like many introverts do—sorry, you might just have to get over that one.)
Second, stop trying to force yourself to do things that don’t work for you. If you’d rather talk one-on-one with an attorney over a cup of coffee, then by all means, contact an attorney personally and invite her to grab coffee. Don’t drag yourself to a law firm reception where you know you wouldn’t be able to make it through the evening if it weren’t for the free drinks. The attorney you meet over coffee is more likely to remember you anyway. Along the same lines, if you don’t want to hang out with your classmates at a bar, find some other way to socialize that’s more appealing: organize a Girl’s Night at your apartment and ask your friends to help you make it regular, fill your study group with people you like, ask someone to be your exercise buddy, do pro bono work, etc. But remember, not associating with your classmates is NOT an option. These people will be your colleagues in a few years, and they’ll remember their relationship with you when they’re referring clients or when their firm is looking for a new associate.
Have a great 2014! If you have any more suggestions for introverted law students, put them in the comments!