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knightofresignation

Second guessing myself.

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So I have managed to get into some laws schools this year after a failed first attempt.
Now that I've been accepted I've been wondering a lot about how I would fit into law school as well as the profession itself.
This is a pretty personal question so I would have to tell you a little bit about myself.

I am extremely introverted. I started undergrad in my mid twenties, and never developed a single friendship during university. I don't think I've ever held a conversation with someone that lasted over 5 minutes, save for professors at office hours. (side note to feel better about myself: I have 5 friends I've known since childhood, so I never really "feel the need" for new friends, or even to make the effort, so to speak). The mere thought of networking throughout law school turns me off. It's not that I'm antisocial or anything; I like to be pleasant to others just as the next guy, and I wouldn't describe myself as difficult to be around, but I would much rather keep quiet and be by myself. I know building networks isn't exactly synonymous with making friends, but any type of relationship building comes at a painstaking effort on my part. In short, I want to avoid actively networking during law school if at all possible. Not willing to participate in any social clubs/events, etc. Also, during my undergrad I have almost never participated in class discussions. I preferred listening to lectures and writing papers. To this day I don't feel comfortable speaking in public, let alone engage in intellectual discussions with strangers. I can do it when I absolutely must (and I personally don't think I'm terrible at it, though I might be mistaken), but again, would much rather not. Would this sort of tendency be a major hindrance for me? Should I get ready to force myself to drastically change if I decide to go to law school and eventually practice law? And incidentally, just how important is networking?

Another thing, I will be in my late twenties starting 1L. I have only ever worked warehouse jobs since high school. Mostly production work; never any office experience. 
May this pose a problem as well? I would imagine that those entering law school at around my age would mostly have solid work experiences that go beyond shift manager at a logistics warehouse (not that that's bad, just not really relevant to working at a law firm). Considering my age, I worry that I won't have anything to show for myself when applying for summer jobs/articles. 

The only thing I can think of that may work to my advantage is that I am not picky at all about where I article/practice as long as I don't leave my home (BC). Interiors, up North, Greater Vancouver, small town, big city, anywhere is fine for me. I also think that I have a low expectation of what being a lawyer entails (for myself anyway). I do not expect to make a lot of money, and have high tolerance for engaging in boring, repetitive work for long hours (not that I know what the work is actually like).


Do you think someone like myself can succeed in law school and as a lawyer? After being rejected last year I felt like I desperately needed to get some good news this year, but now that I've been accepted I am second guessing myself so hard! 
I feel like I've rambled on. Any advice/opinion is welcome.

Thank you for reading. 

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Assuming that you're "coming off" as normal but you simply don't like it, there are areas of law and types of jobs that won't require you to be overly social as a lawyer. There are also practices of law known for attracting quiet people and "weirdos" (and I mean that in the best possible way). 

As a completely unrelated question, how would you feel about tax law? 

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7 minutes ago, kiamia said:

Assuming that you're "coming off" as normal but you simply don't like it, there are areas of law and types of jobs that won't require you to be overly social as a lawyer. There are also practices of law known for attracting quiet people and "weirdos" (and I mean that in the best possible way). 

As a completely unrelated question, how would you feel about tax law? 

I consider myself an introvert like the OP. I'm going into law because I have an intense interest in one of those specialty areas of law that is known for attracting quieter people (if I think we may be referring to the same thing).

The emphasis on fraternizing with other law students is not something, as an introvert, I totally look forward to. I selectively socialize; not because I try to be exclusive, I just find that I get a long with a very specific niche of people. 

I started second guessing how I would fit in law school after looking at some testimonies of the culture at certain Canadian law schools. It may require me to step outside of myself and try to be involved, which there is nothing inherently wrong about but I would prefer really to just focus on my academic interests and studies.  Not looking forward to the fraternizing but if it means succeeding in the legal field then so be it! I can turn it on if I have to. It is nice to hear that the field of law is diverse enough to accommodate weirdos though 😄

Edited by capitalttruth

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1 hour ago, knightofresignation said:

So I have managed to get into some laws schools this year after a failed first attempt.
Now that I've been accepted I've been wondering a lot about how I would fit into law school as well as the profession itself.
This is a pretty personal question so I would have to tell you a little bit about myself.

I am extremely introverted. I started undergrad in my mid twenties, and never developed a single friendship during university. I don't think I've ever held a conversation with someone that lasted over 5 minutes, save for professors at office hours. (side note to feel better about myself: I have 5 friends I've known since childhood, so I never really "feel the need" for new friends, or even to make the effort, so to speak). The mere thought of networking throughout law school turns me off. It's not that I'm antisocial or anything; I like to be pleasant to others just as the next guy, and I wouldn't describe myself as difficult to be around, but I would much rather keep quiet and be by myself. I know building networks isn't exactly synonymous with making friends, but any type of relationship building comes at a painstaking effort on my part. In short, I want to avoid actively networking during law school if at all possible. Not willing to participate in any social clubs/events, etc. Also, during my undergrad I have almost never participated in class discussions. I preferred listening to lectures and writing papers. To this day I don't feel comfortable speaking in public, let alone engage in intellectual discussions with strangers. I can do it when I absolutely must (and I personally don't think I'm terrible at it, though I might be mistaken), but again, would much rather not. Would this sort of tendency be a major hindrance for me? Should I get ready to force myself to drastically change if I decide to go to law school and eventually practice law? And incidentally, just how important is networking?

Another thing, I will be in my late twenties starting 1L. I have only ever worked warehouse jobs since high school. Mostly production work; never any office experience. 
May this pose a problem as well? I would imagine that those entering law school at around my age would mostly have solid work experiences that go beyond shift manager at a logistics warehouse (not that that's bad, just not really relevant to working at a law firm). Considering my age, I worry that I won't have anything to show for myself when applying for summer jobs/articles. 

The only thing I can think of that may work to my advantage is that I am not picky at all about where I article/practice as long as I don't leave my home (BC). Interiors, up North, Greater Vancouver, small town, big city, anywhere is fine for me. I also think that I have a low expectation of what being a lawyer entails (for myself anyway). I do not expect to make a lot of money, and have high tolerance for engaging in boring, repetitive work for long hours (not that I know what the work is actually like).


Do you think someone like myself can succeed in law school and as a lawyer? After being rejected last year I felt like I desperately needed to get some good news this year, but now that I've been accepted I am second guessing myself so hard! 
I feel like I've rambled on. Any advice/opinion is welcome.

Thank you for reading. 

There were a variety of personalities in my law school. There are a variety of personalities in practice. The profession is generally pretty forgiving of personal oddities as long as you are competent - it respects peoples' knowledge and skill to get the job done. So yes, an introvert can succeed as a lawyer and no, you do not need to change your personality (if you even can!) 

That being said: you will likely have to have conversations of more than 5 minutes in the interview process. To get into areas like tax law, you'll likely need to go through the OCI process which involves various interviews, receptions, dinners etc. You may need to have conversations with professors so that they get to know you well enough to be your references. You may want to go to receptions or reach out to lawyers at firms prior to the formal OCI process to get to know people at firms where you may want to work or to figure out which firms you want to apply to. 

As to the other things you mentioned: you don't HAVE to go to social clubs or networks in law school. These are an important and fun part of the law school experience for many people, but they are not mandatory. However, you generally need to have things on your resume showing that you have been involved and engaged in your community in law school and in the wider community. You might be able to do things that are less "social" like do research for profs or for Pro Bono Students Canada, but getting those positions will likely involve interviews and having meetings with the profs or your supervisor. Practice also often does involve at least some level of networking, to greater or lesser degree depending on your area of practice and type of firm, etc. I doubt most people can get away from doing at least some networking, and this does start in law school. People don't network for the sake of it - they do it because it is an important way to build your practice and reputation. 

I wasn't big on class discussion in law school either and mostly chose not to participate in it. It's not mandatory and you can easily get by not doing it. I only spoke in class when the prof called on me or, very rarely, I was moved to ask or share something briefly. I think if you don't talk in class, you will need to make sure you go to your profs' office hours and talk to them there so they can get to know you and be a reference for you. I did that and ended up very close with several profs who gave me good recommendations even though I was quiet in class. As to public speaking, I think that most law schools have some mandatory component of some kind of a moot, some classes will have mandatory presentations etc so I doubt you can completely get away from having to speak before others, but it won't be a routine thing and you can avoid it in upper years if you don't take those classes. If you go into solicitor areas of practice, you can certainly be a lawyer who does not have to do much public speaking.

Your age is a non-issue. There will be others your age and older. I would imagine that a shift manager learns lots of useful skills in scheduling, organizing, managing different personalities etc. Those are the skills you will sell in interviews. The law firms where I had interviews all really valued real-world work experience. Some students, both your age and younger, will have lots of amazing things on their resumes, but lots won't. Some of the younger students will have spent most of their lives in school and those with wealthier parents may not even have worked at all. So having a few years of work experience with "regular" people is an asset. 

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I would add that if you're going to be deliberately non-social and introverted, there is probably more onus on you to be a top student. You can't be an average B-student, not network, moot, join any clubs etc and stand out in the interview process. If you are near the top of the class, getting papers published, winning academic awards and doing research with professors, then you can be "John, that weird shy guy who is brilliant and a total tax/bankruptcy/securities nerd." The B-student path of "Jill, who is decently smart and is so engaging and funny and will charm the clients and be a joy to be around" will be closed to you. So I would say if you're not going to network, join clubs, talk in class and so on, thereby developing and practicing your social skills, you will need to be confident in your academic success. 

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Thank you everyone for replying. Realistic and encouraging. 

As providence mentioned I do intend to focus on doing well academically (enough to compensate for my lack of social skills), while not completely shutting myself off from networking opportunities. Now that I think of it, it was sort of ridiculous for me to expect getting by without socializing at all. I would definitely need to be more open-minded in general, and work on things like interviewing skills and getting to know my professors. Law school is a big step/change for me. Might as well acknowledge that and embrace what's to come.

As it stands, I am open to all areas of law, especially on the solicitor side for obvious reasons. I am hoping to find an area of interest while at school. Echoing capitalttruth, It is reassuring to hear that there are areas in which people like myself can succeed.  Thank you again!

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19 minutes ago, knightofresignation said:

Thank you everyone for replying. Realistic and encouraging. 

As providence mentioned I do intend to focus on doing well academically (enough to compensate for my lack of social skills), while not completely shutting myself off from networking opportunities. Now that I think of it, it was sort of ridiculous for me to expect getting by without socializing at all. I would definitely need to be more open-minded in general, and work on things like interviewing skills and getting to know my professors. Law school is a big step/change for me. Might as well acknowledge that and embrace what's to come.

As it stands, I am open to all areas of law, especially on the solicitor side for obvious reasons. I am hoping to find an area of interest while at school. Echoing capitalttruth, It is reassuring to hear that there are areas in which people like myself can succeed.  Thank you again!

A caution: everyone wants to do well academically and most people will by definition end up being average (B student-ish.) So don't rely on that alone. If you do well, great, but no one knows how they will do until after exams, which is why it's a good idea to start volunteering and doing extra-curriculars early on so you are not just relying on potential grades. (Plus there are other benefits to that.) 

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Law school can be a hugely formative experience for people, regardless of their age. I can tell you're nervous about the new environment, but I hope you haven't dismissed out-of-hand the possibility that this might a tremendous opportunity to develop your social skills. Believe me, there is no shortage of similarly disposed people in law school trying to figure this stuff out.

Regardless, as others have already said, you can do just fine in law school without being a social butterfly.

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Lots of people have given good advice already, but the one thing I'll say is that outside of some deep, dark niche somewhere, you will largely need to communicate with people, and communicate with them through more than the written word, in the practice of law. Even the most esoteric and out there tax lawyer still needs to be able to pick up the phone and talk to the client or their other lawyers and walk through issues - you simply can't do everything by email, memo, drafts, etc.

I'd suggest using law school as an opportunity to work on those skills and keep an open mind about getting out there, because a lot of the "social" opportunities (not drink nights per se, but moots, clinics, clubs, etc.) can be formative experiences for law students.

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2 hours ago, knightofresignation said:

As it stands, I am open to all areas of law, especially on the solicitor side for obvious reasons

In my experience at a small-mid solicitor sized firm (8 lawyers) as a summer student, the lawyers spent a good chunk of the workday either having facetime with clients, on the phone with clients or out with business drivers to get more clients. Just something to consider when you start looking at practice areas.

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