Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

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consequence3
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Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby consequence3 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:14 pm

What's up law people? This is my first post, but I've lurked a bit.

Background information: I'm a junior at a top-10 school, ~3.80 GPA in a major of medium difficulty, good at academics across the board (dabbled in everything from English to math). I don't have an LSAT score yet but feel confident in that area.

On paper I look good, but in all the soft areas I am very different (in a negative way) from other students at my school looking at law school.

I'm a slow thinker. This is relative, of course, but I seem to operate one gear lower compared to my pre-law friends. They can read a book a day, I take a whole week. They can write papers in a few hours, I take a few days. The quality of my work is solid, but it takes me a long time. I also can't keep up in conversations or class discussions. I don't mean to sound like I'm left drooling on my notepad, but I notice my mind overheat working to catch up. Lawyers should be sharp and quick on their feet, right?

I have bad speaking skills. Naturally, my slow thinking speed already has a negative impact on my speaking ability. However, I should mention that my speaking ability is independently quite bad. Though I consider myself a good writer, I find it difficult to communicate in speech (poor voice quality, monotone, thoughts get jumbled). Thus, while my GPA is good due to my essay writing, I mostly sound like a moron in class. Even when I have something good to say, the presentation kills it. Lawyers should be eloquent and persuasive, right?

I'm not very social. I'm introverted and far from outgoing. I do a lot of peer tutoring and find myself exhausted by the experience, mostly the social aspect of meeting many new people. Law always struck me as a profession for those confident and outgoing. Of course this one characteristic of mine ties in heavily with the other two.

Well, what do you guys think? I have (or expect to get) the stats for a top law school. But all my personal qualities make me almost the exact opposite of what one would expect of a successful lawyer. Comments, advice?

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Always Credited
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby Always Credited » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:18 pm

Doing what you think you may be good at rather than doing what you think you'll enjoy, and treating the two as mutually exclusive, will lead to much unhappiness in your future.

If you don't think you'll enjoy being a lawyer, please, don't add to the number of depressed quasi-psycho alcoholics currently populating the field.

boss
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby boss » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:18 pm

I think it depends on what sort of law you might want to do. It's my understanding that corporate transaction lawyers (and even litigators) never see the their day in court. However, being persuasive and sociable never hurts.

My inclination is that "sounding like a moron" will make it very difficult for you in the field. Networking requires you to be sociable, interacting with clients and your peer associates requires you to be sociable, and negotiating with opposing counsel definitely requires a verbal finesse. If you have a genuine interest in the study of law, I would tell you to just go for it. Hard and good work can do the speaking for you where your own words fall short.

My two cents, better to ask a real attorney.

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Encyclopedia Brown
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby Encyclopedia Brown » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:19 pm

You know the LSAT is timed, right?

Mosca
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby Mosca » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:23 pm

.
Last edited by Mosca on Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PDaddy
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby PDaddy » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:25 pm

If you have to ask...the answer is probably "yes". Law students need, first and foremost, to be confident in their abilities, confident in their decision to pursue a legal degree and confident that they will make great contributions to the profession. And they need to be happy.
Last edited by PDaddy on Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:25 pm

Well, we can certainly rule out a career in sales. Your post suggests that you might be better suited for a career as a research scientist.
A key point posted above by another is that the LSAT is a timed exam.
Are you comfortable sharing your undergraduate school & major?
Why are you interested in attending law school & practicing law?
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mirpanda
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby mirpanda » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:28 pm

Speaking skills and sociability may come naturally for some, but for many others, they are acquired. Join your local Toastmasters and increase your skill and confidence. Doing so would be beneficial for many aspects of your life, not only as a prospective lawyer. http://www.toastmasters.org/
Last edited by mirpanda on Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rando
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby rando » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:30 pm

I think the field could benefit from a little bit of humble pie. I enjoyed reading the OP's post because I can tell that he/she is selling himself short. It is good to have a sense of your weaknesses as well as your strengths. If you can work on being a bit more sociable I think there are great avenues to be an attorney. Especially if you are a good writer.

Actually litigating and being persuasive on your feet is not as prevalent as you may think.

However, as mentioned, the LSAT is very time cramped, as are most first year law school exams. Though if you are in a T10 undergrad I am sure you have taken many standardized tests.

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kn6542
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby kn6542 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:34 pm

Introversion doesn't mean you don't have social skills or don't like ppl, it just means that you feel drained by too much socializing. Extroverts are the opposite, they get energy from being around ppl. Think about this in the context of the work you might do as a lawyer. A lot of lawyering is solitary--writing, researching, reading, etc. This is the case in law school and practicing in most areas of law. A lot of very extroverted ppl who go into law have trouble with this bc they get tired and drained if they engage in too much solitary activity. I think you'll find that a lot of law students and lawyers are actually pretty introverted ppl. You can learn the networking, the team work, etc. None of that is impossible simply because you enjoy your solitude. You might not be the life of the party all the time, but you don't need to be. I really don't think you need to worry about this.

As for the feeling that you think and operate slower than other ppl, it's possible that you're just around a lot of blowhards that brag about how quickly they get shit done to seem smart. You'd be surprised how many ppl do that. It's also possible that you are something of a perfectionist and it takes you longer to complete your work because you're placing an emphasis on it being extremely thorough and flawless. If that's the case, you'll grow out of that. A lot of ppl have to learn in law school to do a "good enough" job where good enough is all that's needed. If you do the very best job on everything, the work doesn't get done. It's a hard skill to learn for perfectionists, but you can do that.

I wouldn't write it off just yet. Talk to career services at your school, lawyers, and some actual adults who can advise you on this. Engage in some self-reflection. You might just be being really hard on yourself for not fitting some image you've acquired about lawyers that doesn't reflect reality.

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kn6542
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby kn6542 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:34 pm

PDaddy wrote:If you have to ask...the answer is probably "yes". Law students need, first and foremost, to be confident in their abilities, confident in their decision to pursue a legal degree and confident that they will make great contributions to the profession. And they need to be happy.

And racist.

consequence3
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby consequence3 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:36 pm

Encyclopedia Brown wrote:You know the LSAT is timed, right?


I bump against the time limit frequently, but not always and never by much. I've never had difficulty with standardized tests before. I know doing poorly on the LSAT would upend my current set of worries. But let's keep it out of the picture, can we? I appreciate your comments, I'll check back later.

solidsnake
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby solidsnake » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:37 pm

consequence3 wrote: I mostly sound like a moron in class.


No, you'll fit right in at law school.

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kn6542
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby kn6542 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:38 pm

solidsnake wrote:
consequence3 wrote: I mostly sound like a moron in class.


No, you'll fit right in at law school.

Bankhead
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby Bankhead » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:49 pm

I have some of the same mental traits (slow thinker, takes me a while to do intellectual tasks, not the most articulate in class discussion) as you do and so far I've done ok. You also get better in law school, as 1L is sort of a mental bootcamp in a sense.

I had some of the same reservations as you did, but I don't regret my choice in attending law school. You have a 3.8 at a top 10 school, you're obviously not a dummy.

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Thirteen
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby Thirteen » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:55 pm

kn6542 wrote:Introversion doesn't mean you don't have social skills or don't like ppl, it just means that you feel drained by too much socializing. Extroverts are the opposite, they get energy from being around ppl. Think about this in the context of the work you might do as a lawyer. A lot of lawyering is solitary--writing, researching, reading, etc. This is the case in law school and practicing in most areas of law. A lot of very extroverted ppl who go into law have trouble with this bc they get tired and drained if they engage in too much solitary activity. I think you'll find that a lot of law students and lawyers are actually pretty introverted ppl. You can learn the networking, the team work, etc. None of that is impossible simply because you enjoy your solitude. You might not be the life of the party all the time, but you don't need to be. I really don't think you need to worry about this.

As for the feeling that you think and operate slower than other ppl, it's possible that you're just around a lot of blowhards that brag about how quickly they get shit done to seem smart. You'd be surprised how many ppl do that. It's also possible that you are something of a perfectionist and it takes you longer to complete your work because you're placing an emphasis on it being extremely thorough and flawless. If that's the case, you'll grow out of that. A lot of ppl have to learn in law school to do a "good enough" job where good enough is all that's needed. If you do the very best job on everything, the work doesn't get done. It's a hard skill to learn for perfectionists, but you can do that.

I wouldn't write it off just yet. Talk to career services at your school, lawyers, and some actual adults who can advise you on this. Engage in some self-reflection. You might just be being really hard on yourself for not fitting some image you've acquired about lawyers that doesn't reflect reality.




This post says everything that I was thinking, but has more clarity than anything I would write. I was extremely introverted throughout high school, but learned how to come out of my shell and interact with others. Don't give up yet.

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phoenix323
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby phoenix323 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:59 pm

Have you ever considered testing for a Learning Disability? Some of the problems you described (i.e. jumbled thoughts, feeling like your brain is moving slowly, difficulty communicating) are consistent with some language processing disorders.

Just a thought.

Good luck in whatever you decide to pursue.

kevin261186
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby kevin261186 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:17 pm

I currently sit outside the office of partner who has very little in the way of social skills, but she finished top of her class in law school, and works in an area that does not require her to litigate cases, or interact too often with people. There are myriad areas of law to work in, and I feel as though you might find a niche in one of them. Your methodical, if not lightning fast, approach may not set you up for a career in BIGLAW, which by the sounds of things would be your worst nightmare.

You are clearly an intelligent, thoughtful and intellectual person, and probably well suited to a law career where thorough research and a solid work product is more important than your ability to put on a Valentino suit, and sway a jury to your way of thinking. This stereotype of lawyers represents a very small percentage of practicing attorneys.

Keep those grades high, it'll help when applying to Yale. Good luck.

green_esqs_n_ham
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby green_esqs_n_ham » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:00 pm

I worked for an attorney that probably had Asperger's. He had a lot of the same difficulties with speaking and socializing. He was very pensive and took his time carefully and meticulously writing all his motions and appeals. He studied the law constantly and patiently. He was an absolute perfectionist, always taking his time and constantly pondering rather than stating a conclusion.

The odd thing is, somehow when he was in court he would appear to be a different man. He was easily one of the most persuasive lawyers I've ever seen argue. I asked him about it, because I was surprised, and he told me that is the only place where he gets into his zone and that he relied on many hours of preparation and years of practice.

hellokitty
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby hellokitty » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:07 pm

I've often asked myself the same thing. I think you just have to find your niche. I'm terrible at public speaking and not super-social, but good at things that might require a little more writing or paperwork. Just believe in yourself and kick ass on the LSAT. You have the GPA already. Just believe in yourself! Good luck!

r973
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby r973 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:11 pm

I would like to throw into the conversation an article that I had to read last year for law school. I think part of the argument was that pessimistic law students who are unhappy tend to actually make better lawyers.

The cite is 23 Cardozo L. Rev. 33 2001-2002 "Why Lawyers are Unhappy"

So I say to the original poster, if you want to go to law school, then go for it!

CanadianWolf
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:14 pm

And that pesky little LSAT remains...

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nick637
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby nick637 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:20 pm

its taken me three weeks to write this paper for my UG. thanks TLS!

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kn6542
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby kn6542 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:23 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:And that pesky little LSAT remains...

His concern isn't with the LSAT. He seems quite aware that he needs to do well on it. I think it's quite appropriate for him to ask himself these questions NOW before he spends a great deal of time studying for the LSAT. If he decides he wants to pursue law school, but it turns out he is simply unable to do well on the LSAT, then so be it. I think he understands what that means. One thing at a time.

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englawyer
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Re: Am I the wrong type of person for law school?

Postby englawyer » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:25 pm

law is about as close as you can get to "professional homework do-er". if you like school, reading, and writing it would be a good fit.

don't worry about the introversion too much; law is probably the best (in terms of money) for introverts, relative to science, engineering, accounting, etc. if you were an extrovert you would be going to b-school 8)




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