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jan

Autism and law school: should I not bother?

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As the title suggests, I have ASD and fear that my condition is incompatible with my career objective of becoming a lawyer. I'm set to go to law school this fall, but I'm starting to debate quitting while I'm ahead and rescinding my acceptance. I was diagnosed as an adult (although I've known since early childhood that something is "wrong" with the way that I perceive and interact with the world around me), and consequently have not received much treatment or therapy for the disorder.  I do not consider myself to be intellectually disabled in any way, but I definitely have inadequate social skills. For example, I can't infer other people's emotions (like telling when they're uninterested in a conversation), I fail at making eye contact (it hurts when people turn to check what I'm looking at when I'm staring off into the distance while talking), and my peers constantly remark that I am very deadpan and monotonous, even when I'm cracking jokes. In general, I am extremely awkward and probably uncomfortable to be around or work with for an extended amount of time. The fact that I'm a woman definitely doesn't help, and probably creeps people out more than if I were a man, since autism is a very masculinized disorder. My deficiencies are exacerbated by my own awareness of them, if that makes sense. I have social anxiety because I know that I suck at social interaction, which in turn makes me socialize less (I am very shy and reclusive, and this has intensified after my diagnosis).

This issue has already negatively impacted my professional conduct (I won't even get into my personal life... Let's just say I have never really had any friends). I sometimes avoid involving myself in projects at work if they require regular meetings or even sending a lot of emails to colleagues, because I'm terrified that people will know that I'm autistic. I can pass as "normal," but only in brief or very structured interactions (small talk, interacting with cashiers, appointments where I can plan out what to say, etc.).

I've read as many articles and forum posts about being a lawyer with ASD as possible, and I'm becoming increasingly worried that my goals are far-fetched. I think that my lack of social skills will put me at a major disadvantage both in law school and as a lawyer. In general, it seems like social intuition is a key quality of successful lawyers, and there are virtually no areas of practice that do not require at least an average amount of social competency. I don't think that I would end up miserable in law, but I'm expecting that I'll be seriously disadvantaged because of how I act around others. Is it a good idea to abandon my goal of working in law and rethinking my career options? For logistical and personal reasons, deferring isn't really an option that I'm capable of entertaining. 

Edited by jan
Used the word "involve" twice in one sentence, and that bothered me.
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Just posting to say that I hear you and I want to think about an answer and get back to you. 

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I think you should continue with going to law school. I may be wrong but I think a lot of your fear stems from thinking all lawyers are these social butterflies and that you won't fit in. That is not the case. Lawyers can be awkward, keep to themselves and be eccentric. That doesn't mean they aren't good lawyers. You will not be disadvantaged in that respect. You said it yourself-you don't think that you'll be miserable in law, so pursue it. Don't let your idea of what a lawyer must be like discourage you. 

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You should go to law school and find a position that's suitable for you, one that draws on your comparative strengths. Maybe an ideal position won't be in litigation, but there are lots of other options. Others on this board will be in a better place to give you ideas about suitable positions for you.  

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Short answer: what type of work do you want to do as a lawyer? 

From what you describe, litigation would be very difficult. And even solicitors have to make small talk with clients and their colleagues, send a lot of emails etc.

The process to get hired for articling and associate positions generally involves a need for inter-personal skills in interviews and more informal meetings with lawyers, etc. Even in law school, things like clinic work will require this as well.

There are limited positions for lawyers that are research or policy based, and you'd probably need pretty good grades to get those. 

That being said... if you are serious about wanting this career, I don't think it's impossible. I think it is important to:

1) find a mentor who has a similar diagnosis - ask the law society for help, or check with the equality section of the bar association

2) be up-front with professors, potential employers etc about your diagnosis and what you need to help you

3) work with a therapist to see if you can improve confidence and social skills

4) get as good grades as you can in law school

5) excel at the stuff you can do that doesn't require "people skills" ie. writing for journals etc

6) continually work to improve and practice interpersonal skills and seek feedback

 

Stop being ashamed or embarrassed about something you don't control, and people will want to help. 

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I think this will depend largely on what you intend to accomplish by going to law school. If your baseline is getting a fulfilling and challenging job, you should still go. From what I've seen, there are legal jobs out there that don't require much interaction with other people. As a previous poster said, litigation won't be for you, but I can imagine you could do something in government that requires in-depth knowledge of a piece of legislation.

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Honestly, you're probably fine as long as you don't do mooting, even then you're probably at an advantage.

ASD-spectrum people from atleast the ones I've met have the exact kind of mind that people look for in lawyers, and allows lawyers to do really well. These are that they are very concrete and precise, taking literal meaning very well and have much more superior logical processing and analytical skills than the average person.

I meet a handful in the hard-sciences, and there's a good reason why you see engineers and other majors where ASD is over-represented, go into law as opposed to someone who takes a too interpretive and fanciful approach to things.  The kind of mind that does well in both, have a very fine-tuned grasp of system-level and interactive nuanced thinking that lets engineers optimize hidden variables the same way a lawyer can interpret specific cases and statutes and so-on.

Building confidence is probably key, which is often easier than it appears. You'll probably find hundreds of working lawyers with undiagnosed ASD anyways, and the ones who excel (generally in anything in life) learn to build up confidence in their work.

Edited by mazzystar
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I would just like to suggest that if you are willing to try therapy to help you with your social anxiety, I would highly recommend trying Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. It is expensive but extremely effective. For example, 6 sessions cost me $1,200 but I have learned tools that I can use for life. CBT changed my life and the way my brain works, it's amazing! Based on your anxieties about your ASD relating to your social abilities, I can already imagine the kinds of strategies a CBT therapist would offer you.

But above all, never let your anxiety make your life choices! Being social is not superior to being anything else. If you want to become a lawyer, you will become a lawyer!

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Just now, impatientlywaiting said:

I would just like to suggest that if you are willing to try therapy to help you with your social anxiety, I would highly recommend trying Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. It is expensive but extremely effective. For example, 6 sessions cost me $1,200 but I have learned tools that I can use for life.

I can second this. CBT can be extremely helpful and these tools are very useful for people who deal with high pressure situations and high stress levels. 

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I'm going to run a bit counter to the prevailing advice so far, which has been very optimistic. I figure if the OP is going to be direct enough to raise the issue at all, she's entitled to hear the truth as best I can present it.

Not so long ago I was involved in interviewing for students. And there were some candidates who were just obviously socially dysfunctional. I don't know exactly what their issues might be. It isn't something you can ask in an interview. But I was part of a committee and as soon as the door was closed it was obvious they were out of any contention for the job. It wasn't me being a jerk. It was the entire committee. They were dead in the water on social skills (or lack thereof) alone.

Now, there are definitely areas of law and positions in law that you could manage where social interaction is not at a premium. So I'm not suggesting you should decide against law on that reason alone. But in order to be realistic, I would have to agree that there are a lot of jobs and areas of practice where you'll pretty much completely disqualify yourself just by being excessively awkward. That's the reality. Now, that said, I have a couple of additional observations.

First, you're going to have these problems in almost any job or professional setting. So if there are good reasons why you're interested in law (and I imagine there must be, or you wouldn't have got this far) then there's a valid argument that says you might as well struggle against your challenges while practicing law rather than struggle against your challenges while doing whatever the heck else you'd be doing instead of law. Second, I can only guess at what it might be like to function while autistic, but you might be surprised at the number of lawyers (myself included) who are not naturally extroverted or comfortable socializing in freeform settings. The thing is, speaking personally, I find it far easier to navigate a relationship with clients because I know exactly what that relationship is. It has boundaries and definitions. Friends and colleagues etc. are often harder. So if you are willing and able to approach your social interactions as work it really doesn't matter if you're good at making or keeping friends. And third, relating to the point above, it's absolutely important that you're able to work with clients and not freak them out. But you don't need to be social to the point of generating clients out of your personal networks. I mean great, if you can do that, but not being able to do that isn't what will keep you out of law. Many people can't do that well. So when you're talking about your awkwardness, let's define it properly. You can be a great lawyer and not have any friends at all. I probably know people like that. You just need to keep your clients happy.

Anyway, I hope that's at least some sort of perspective. If you'd like more, feel free to follow up.

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6 hours ago, jan said:

As the title suggests, I have ASD and fear that my condition is incompatible with my career objective of becoming a lawyer. I'm set to go to law school this fall, but I'm starting to debate quitting while I'm ahead and rescinding my acceptance. I was diagnosed as an adult (although I've known since early childhood that something is "wrong" with the way that I perceive and interact with the world around me), and consequently have not received much treatment or therapy for the disorder.  I do not consider myself to be intellectually disabled in any way, but I definitely have inadequate social skills. For example, I can't infer other people's emotions (like telling when they're uninterested in a conversation), I fail at making eye contact (it hurts when people turn to check what I'm looking at when I'm staring off into the distance while talking), and my peers constantly remark that I am very deadpan and monotonous, even when I'm cracking jokes. In general, I am extremely awkward and probably uncomfortable to be around or work with for an extended amount of time. The fact that I'm a woman definitely doesn't help, and probably creeps people out more than if I were a man, since autism is a very masculinized disorder. My deficiencies are exacerbated by my own awareness of them, if that makes sense. I have social anxiety because I know that I suck at social interaction, which in turn makes me socialize less (I am very shy and reclusive, and this has intensified after my diagnosis).

This issue has already negatively impacted my professional conduct (I won't even get into my personal life... Let's just say I have never really had any friends). I sometimes avoid involving myself in projects at work if they require regular meetings or even sending a lot of emails to colleagues, because I'm terrified that people will know that I'm autistic. I can pass as "normal," but only in brief or very structured interactions (small talk, interacting with cashiers, appointments where I can plan out what to say, etc.).

I've read as many articles and forum posts about being a lawyer with ASD as possible, and I'm becoming increasingly worried that my goals are far-fetched. I think that my lack of social skills will put me at a major disadvantage both in law school and as a lawyer. In general, it seems like social intuition is a key quality of successful lawyers, and there are virtually no areas of practice that do not require at least an average amount of social competency. I don't think that I would end up miserable in law, but I'm expecting that I'll be seriously disadvantaged because of how I act around others. Is it a good idea to abandon my goal of working in law and rethinking my career options? For logistical and personal reasons, deferring isn't really an option that I'm capable of entertaining. 

This is a tough one, I'm not going to lie. For background, I'm a law student with ASD (diagnosed with Asperger's as a child). I struggle, or did struggle, with a lot of things you struggle with. I used to have a hard time with eye contact, and I still have a hard time with reading people. At the same time, it sounds like your struggle are more intense than mine are currently.

I personally haven't found law school to be that challenging from an ASD perspective. Generally speaking, law school isn't full of all that many social interactions. You can get by without speaking in most classes, there's no requirement to interact with your peers in a meaningful way, and there are plenty of ECs that don't require much social prowess. Now, I think your law school experience would be enriched by being an active participant, but I don't think it's mandatory. 

Where I do think you'll have a problem is the practice of law. You're going to have a very hard time in practice if you're afraid of sending emails, participating in regular meetings, or making eye contact. Diplock and others are correct that many successful lawyers are socially awkward/introverted/etc, but those lawyers aren't opting out of opportunities because of that awkwardness. They're sucking it up and dealing with the discomfort. Based on everything you've said, I don't think you view yourself as capable of sucking it up and dealing with the discomfort on a regular basis now. That's a bad sign. 

The good news is, I don't think the practice of law is foreclosed to you. You have, at a minimum, three years to work on your weaknesses. If you decide to go to law school, I would strongly recommend you invest time, energy, and money into therapy and coaching for your disorder. I was fortunate to have those interventions early in life, and learned invaluable skills and tricks that helped me become more adept at social interaction. I'll note here that recommendations regarding CBT are good, but you should be seeking out programs designed specifically for individuals with autism. CBT can be effective for ASDs, but only when modified (often significantly) to suit them. 

So here's my ultimate advice: you need to reflect on what you think you're capable of. If you think you can spend a significant amount of time on self-improvement so that you can get to a point where you can participate in daily business activities and client management without so much discomfort that you'll avoid those situations, and you think you can realistically get to that point, I would carry on with your plan to attend law school.

If, however, you don't believe that's possible right now, I would recommend cancelling your acceptance. In my personal opinion, you will lead a much more fulfilling and happy life if you are able to improve your strategies for dealing with your ASD than if you graduate with a JD and no meaningful strategies. 

Hopefully that's helpful to you. Keep in mind that this is all just advice, and you're welcome to disregard it if you want. 

 

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5 hours ago, mazzystar said:

Honestly, you're probably fine as long as you don't do mooting, even then you're probably at an advantage.

ASD-spectrum people from atleast the ones I've met have the exact kind of mind that people look for in lawyers, and allows lawyers to do really well. These are that they are very concrete and precise, taking literal meaning very well and have much more superior logical processing and analytical skills than the average person.

I meet a handful in the hard-sciences, and there's a good reason why you see engineers and other majors where ASD is over-represented, go into law as opposed to someone who takes a too interpretive and fanciful approach to things.  The kind of mind that does well in both, have a very fine-tuned grasp of system-level and interactive nuanced thinking that lets engineers optimize hidden variables the same way a lawyer can interpret specific cases and statutes and so-on.

Building confidence is probably key, which is often easier than it appears. You'll probably find hundreds of working lawyers with undiagnosed ASD anyways, and the ones who excel (generally in anything in life) learn to build up confidence in their work.

Suffice it to say I disagree with much of this.

We don't know what type of ASD OP is diagnosed with, but many of the characteristics you described (concentration, precision, literalism, strong logical processing, and strong analytical skills) are present in only some of the disorders on the autism spectrum. Some of the characteristics you defined, such as nuanced thinking, aren't even really characteristics of ASD. Without knowing OPs diagnosis, there's no way to tell if they'll be advantaged or disadvantaged by their disorder. 

Also, for people with ASD it's not really a matter of building confidence. It's a matter of developing strategies to deal with their unique challenges. People with ASD don't avoid eye contact because they lack confidence, they avoid eye contact because it causes them literal discomfort due to a neurological quirk. No amount of confidence will help them start making eye contact, but it's possible that the use of specific strategies (such as looking at an individual's nose, which makes the person feel like their eye's are being contacted) will. The same goes for many of the other issues OP spoke to, such as discomfort with uncharted conversations. 

Where confidence could help is with the social anxiety aspect, but it's pretty unlikely that someone with ASD and social anxiety will be able to rid themselves of anxiety without addressing the underlying cause. The cause appears to be the problems with social interaction caused by ASD, and therefore increased confidence is unlikely to really help with the social anxiety either. 

 

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6 hours ago, emilystaubert said:

Maybe an ideal position won't be in litigation, but there are lots of other options. 

6 hours ago, providence said:

From what you describe, litigation would be very difficult. And even solicitors have to make small talk with clients and their colleagues, send a lot of emails etc.. 

6 hours ago, Turkeytime said:

 As a previous poster said, litigation won't be for you, but I can imagine you could do something in government that requires in-depth knowledge of a piece of legislation.

6 hours ago, mazzystar said:

Honestly, you're probably fine as long as you don't do mooting, even then you're probably at an advantage.

Thank you to all who made this point. I was definitely most interested in practicing some kind of civil litigation. This has been a good wake-up call that I should probably set that option aside and see if there are any other practice areas that I'd actually logically fit into. If not, I probably shouldn't gamble three years and several thousand dollars on professional school for a profession that I'm inherently ill-suited for. I'm not as detail-oriented or analytical as stereotypes about my disorder might suggest, so maybe this line of work doesn't match my strengths as well as I've convinced myself. 

6 hours ago, providence said:

1) find a mentor who has a similar diagnosis - ask the law society for help, or check with the equality section of the bar association

2) be up-front with professors, potential employers etc about your diagnosis and what you need to help you

3) work with a therapist to see if you can improve confidence and social skills

4) get as good grades as you can in law school

5) excel at the stuff you can do that doesn't require "people skills" ie. writing for journals etc

6) continually work to improve and practice interpersonal skills and seek feedback

 

Stop being ashamed or embarrassed about something you don't control, and people will want to help. 

I really appreciate all of this advice, providence. Beyond the good grades and practicing at interpersonal skills part, these are all strategies that I had never thought of, and probably would never have come up with on my own. Regardless of what I end up doing, I'll be taking these suggestions to heart. 

6 hours ago, impatientlywaiting said:

I would just like to suggest that if you are willing to try therapy to help you with your social anxiety, I would highly recommend trying Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. It is expensive but extremely effective. 

6 hours ago, Hegdis said:

I can second this. CBT can be extremely helpful and these tools are very useful for people who deal with high pressure situations and high stress levels. 

Thank you for this. I'm trying to set up some stuff at the end of summer. I've been recommended DBT, but CBT is also on the table. 

2 hours ago, Diplock said:

Second, I can only guess at what it might be like to function while autistic, but you might be surprised at the number of lawyers (myself included) who are not naturally extroverted or comfortable socializing in freeform settings. The thing is, speaking personally, I find it far easier to navigate a relationship with clients because I know exactly what that relationship is. It has boundaries and definitions. Friends and colleagues etc. are often harder.

Thank you very much for your in-depth and straightforward response, Diplock. I really appreciate it. I apologize for cropping out the rest of your insight and only quoting this bit completely out of context, but I found that this excerpt captures the essence of my dilemma in a way that I have not been able to articulate. My awkwardness is definitely tempered a bit when there is some kind of a structured relationship or power inequality at play, and in my limited understanding, I think that the lawyer-client dynamic might fit that bill pretty well. I mostly flounder around people in roughly the same social position as me, like colleagues. I suppose I'm most nervous about whether I'll be able to function around other lawyers. I can fake my way through interviews, but once I'm in a workplace, things usually fall apart as I gradually out myself as a weird jerk. 

45 minutes ago, ASDThrowaway said:

This is a tough one, I'm not going to lie. For background, I'm a law student with ASD (diagnosed with Asperger's as a child). I struggle, or did struggle, with a lot of things you struggle with. I used to have a hard time with eye contact, and I still have a hard time with reading people. At the same time, it sounds like your struggle are more intense than mine are currently.

I personally haven't found law school to be that challenging from an ASD perspective. Generally speaking, law school isn't full of all that many social interactions. You can get by without speaking in most classes, there's no requirement to interact with your peers in a meaningful way, and there are plenty of ECs that don't require much social prowess. Now, I think your law school experience would be enriched by being an active participant, but I don't think it's mandatory. 

Where I do think you'll have a problem is the practice of law. You're going to have a very hard time in practice if you're afraid of sending emails, participating in regular meetings, or making eye contact. Diplock and others are correct that many successful lawyers are socially awkward/introverted/etc, but those lawyers aren't opting out of opportunities because of that awkwardness. They're sucking it up and dealing with the discomfort. Based on everything you've said, I don't think you view yourself as capable of sucking it up and dealing with the discomfort on a regular basis now. That's a bad sign. 

The good news is, I don't think the practice of law is foreclosed to you. You have, at a minimum, three years to work on your weaknesses. If you decide to go to law school, I would strongly recommend you invest time, energy, and money into therapy and coaching for your disorder. I was fortunate to have those interventions early in life, and learned invaluable skills and tricks that helped me become more adept at social interaction. I'll note here that recommendations regarding CBT are good, but you should be seeking out programs designed specifically for individuals with autism. CBT can be effective for ASDs, but only when modified (often significantly) to suit them. 

So here's my ultimate advice: you need to reflect on what you think you're capable of. If you think you can spend a significant amount of time on self-improvement so that you can get to a point where you can participate in daily business activities and client management without so much discomfort that you'll avoid those situations, and you think you can realistically get to that point, I would carry on with your plan to attend law school.

If, however, you don't believe that's possible right now, I would recommend cancelling your acceptance. In my personal opinion, you will lead a much more fulfilling and happy life if you are able to improve your strategies for dealing with your ASD than if you graduate with a JD and no meaningful strategies. 

Hopefully that's helpful to you. Keep in mind that this is all just advice, and you're welcome to disregard it if you want. 

 

Thank you so much for sharing your own experience and offering such insightful advice. You didn't explicitly suggest or even imply this, but I've realized that I'm deluding myself in thinking that this is a question of comfort rather than capability, when the two are actually very intertwined. I think it's best that I work on myself and secure some strategies to socialize more comfortably before I even consider committing to a career path of any kind. 

Edited by jan
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I have nothing meaningful to add to the thoughtful advice above, but I feel compelled to note that you’re a great writer and exceedingly gracious. It’s almost incredible how poorly many law students handle advice and instruction.

I think that providence’s advice to be frank and forthcoming is great advice. It provided me with a moment of introspection, and I realized that I’ve often been a dick to “weird” people in the past without even thinking about the challenges they face. I know that I would have been much, much less dickish if they had told me at some point that they had ASD.

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I second ASDThrowaway's caution. There is a lot of self-help advice itt from neurotypical people that is largely inapplicable to you without drastic modification. That kind of well meaning ignorance is a good preview of how expectations are going to be set for your behaviour by clients/peers/superiors.

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53 minutes ago, MinesAndMinerals said:

I have nothing meaningful to add to the thoughtful advice above, but I feel compelled to note that you’re a great writer and exceedingly gracious. It’s almost incredible how poorly many law students handle advice and instruction.

I think that providence’s advice to be frank and forthcoming is great advice. It provided me with a moment of introspection, and I realized that I’ve often been a dick to “weird” people in the past without even thinking about the challenges they face. I know that I would have been much, much less dickish if they had told me at some point that they had ASD.

I try not to play armchair shrink, but I kind of assume that "weird" people might be somewhere on the spectrum or have some other disability or challenge. 

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I’ll say that I’ve come across no shortage of successful lawyers who are, for lack of a better word, “weird” or socially awkward (for whatever reason) - it might come as no surprise that a lot of them are tax lawyers.  Certainly, I’ve known lawyers who exhibit many of the traits you describe.  What they had in common was that they were blazingly smart and practiced in highly technical fields where their social difficulties, whether it was playing well with others or interacting with clients, was more than offset by their technical abilities.  At the end of the day, a law firm will go a long way to support you, if you bring other unique and valuable skills to the table.  

One former colleague comes to mind.  He was a corporate lawyer at my first firm and he was, well, “socially awkward”.  If you brought him to a reception, he’d just stand in the corner and not talk to anyone.  If you tried to engage with him, it was like pulling teeth.  If that was the limit of your engagement with him, you’d wonder how the hell he ever made partner.  But, you sit down in his office with a question about the application of corporate law in some new and unexpected circumstances and, shit, he’d solve your problem before you finished asking  the question.  His value to the firm was obvious.

All of which is to say, there isn’t one template for a successful lawyer. To be sure, “social skills” and the ability to interact with others are an asset, and you’re not wrong to think that your weakness in those areas would put you at a disadvantage.  And, as others have pointed out, in some areas of law - litigation, criminal, family, employment - they’re probably essential skills.  But law is a big profession.

In that light, I’d second the advice of people like Diplock, Providence and ASD Throwaway to seek out counselling or therapy to develop strategies for dealing with your condition. Even modest improvements in you ability to deal with others would make you more competitive as a candidate.  I’d also think about what other skills/interests you bring to the table and what areas of law are out there where those skills would be valuable.  As ASDthrowaway points out, some (not all) people with you condition display traits that are immensely valuable in the practice of law - are you one of them?  That should shape your thinking as well.

 

 

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I think I'm somewhere between Providence and Diplock both of whom have good thoughts and I'll largely echo.

Whatever you do in life - whether it be a lawyer or otherwise - unless you have inherited wealth, you will have to deal with other people (or find a job in which you don't have too much, as Diplock notes there are some even in law, and even then you'll have job interviews even if done remotely, deal with people in non-work life as you note, etc.). So whatever helps you cope - even if it's being able to briefly in a friendly way explain you can't spend too much time socializing because of ASD? - the better prepared you are.

I do wonder, since you managed through your first degree, I assume it's the practice of being a lawyer, not law school itself, that worries you more?

 

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Not a litigator, (not a lawyer at all, yet - the above advice is probably more insightful than mine). But I agree that litigation would be tough. 

I think if you struggle to read verbal cues, then client meetings, negotiations, and hearings would be tough. When you're trying to persuade, you want to discern how your audience is responding and tailor your arguments appropriately. That's not to say you have to be super charming. But if you've often struggled to say the right thing, well, those perception problems could be magnified in the context of an adversarial, relationship driven role.

That said, I've met law students and lawyers who are probably on the spectrum. They've gotten jobs and will likely do good work, but maybe not in a client-facing capacity. As other posters have said, they've probably brought other technical abilities to employers, and have worked to improve their social skills.

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    • Hey guys, has anyone been waitlisted yet? My anxiety is growing quickly by the day lol. What do you think it means that they have started the wait list? do you think they’re done with acceptances?
    • what are your stats? and how did you find out?
    • I echo what Deadpool said. There are a lot of lawyers in policy roles, such as in the PM and EC pay groups, trying to break into the LP group. Unfortunately, internal postings for LP-01 positions (generally, lawyers with 0-4 years experience post-call) are very rare because the DOJ fills LP-01 positions with their own articling students and the SCC/FCA/FC/TCC law clerks through unadvertised processes. As a result, there’s not much use for internal only competitions and if they need additional people they’ll generally run an external competition. Everyone I’ve heard of who transferred from a government policy role into the DOJ did so through networking and getting an unadvertised appointment. So if you take the policy job and want to get into the DOJ, do not rely on getting in through a formal internal posting. 

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