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IrishStew

Law school as an introvert

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Should I be worried going into law school as an introvert? I like keep to myself and want to get my work done independently and I'm not particularly interested in big law. I know it's better to create relationships with fellow students, but I'd prefer to do that through study groups and what not rather than networking and drinking events and frosh week type events. 

I just want to do my work, keep my head down, and graduate if that makes sense. I know employment opportunities will arise more frequently if I put myself out there, but I've had no problem in the past professionally

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9 minutes ago, IrishStew said:

Should I be worried going into law school as an introvert? I like keep to myself and want to get my work done independently and I'm not particularly interested in big law. I know it's better to create relationships with fellow students, but I'd prefer to do that through study groups and what not rather than networking and drinking events and frosh week type events. 

I just want to do my work, keep my head down, and graduate if that makes sense. I know employment opportunities will arise more frequently if I put myself out there, but I've had no problem in the past professionally

Well the short answer is no, but that's to the first question alone, without qualification, because introversion isn't necessarily a bar to networking, social events,  making friends, or succeeding in law school at all. I knew plenty of introverts in school, and often describe myself as partly introverted. Many of them were present at networking events, social events, and had no issues getting jobs in biglaw, government, or otherwise.

The concern with resting on that answer is the rest of your post. If you're unwilling to interact at all with other students, your professors, or attend anything remotely social for three years, then what you're describing may not be introversion.

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There's nothing wrong with that. You won't be forced to get involved in social or networking events if you don't want to. There's always a large part of any law school class that prefers to keep to themselves.

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2 minutes ago, FineCanadianFXs said:

The concern with resting on that answer is the rest of your post. If you're unwilling to interact at all with other students, your professors, or attend anything remotely social for three years, then what you're describing may not be introversion.

No that's not the case. Just not outgoing and social. I won't be avoiding people, I just prefer doing my own thing :)

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, IrishStew said:

No that's not the case. Just not outgoing and social. I won't be avoiding people, I just prefer doing my own thing :)

Fair.  It is totally fine to put your head down and study independently. I did a lot of that! I didn't do study groups, left many social events early or skipped them altogether.

So long as you understand that, career-wise, a modicum of social ability and networking can yield positive results, and you are entering a competitive environment and job market where many other students put in more than a modicum. There is little downside in putting some effort in improving in those areas if you can. I certainly recommend any incoming law student keep a very open mind about that side of law school, and that they get to know their professors, administration, career office, and certainly start early on figuring out what it is they want to do with their law career.

It is one thing to eschew the social community in pursuit of academic study. It's another thing to adopt the same approach to employment, and expect similar job prospects.

Edited by FineCanadianFXs

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42 minutes ago, IrishStew said:

Should I be worried going into law school as an introvert? I like keep to myself and want to get my work done independently and I'm not particularly interested in big law. I know it's better to create relationships with fellow students, but I'd prefer to do that through study groups and what not rather than networking and drinking events and frosh week type events. 

I just want to do my work, keep my head down, and graduate if that makes sense. I know employment opportunities will arise more frequently if I put myself out there, but I've had no problem in the past professionally

You should separate drinking events from networking events. There's no problem with being an introvert and not going to drinking parties - that's not for everyone. You can make very good friends from study groups alone. But in terms of finding a job, it is much more difficult if you don't network. Keep in mind that you're competing with dozens of your classmates who will be networking. Think of how much better your grades and everything else will have to be if you don't network, and even then, there will be other people with high grades and great ECs who also network well. And besides networking, there are also various activities and ECs, ie. research assistant for professors, mooting, clinics, volunteering, and others, which require socialization. I don't think "doing your work, keeping your head down, and graduating" is a good strategy to get a job, unless you have lots of ready-made connections. This is not undergrad, so what happened in the past professionally may not apply. You need more than just good grades to get law jobs. 

You can't help being an introvert, but you can help not maximizing the opportunities at law school that are there to help you (and are also pretty fun.)

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You can make it work.  I'm certainly not an introvert but wasn't super social in law school because I just didn't like all the fake people and the gunners.  I made a really good group of friends with a few like minded people and that was enough for me. 

I can agree with the others that networking is important, but I sucked at it when I was in law school.  I also found a lot of the networking events at school to be cringe worthy as it would be a handful of lawyers surrounded by a group of super keen law students sucking up.  That just wasn't my style.  It's an important skill to try to develop though so I would suggest putting yourself out there because your network is everything once you actually start practicing law. 

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17 minutes ago, Stark said:

You can make it work.  I'm certainly not an introvert but wasn't super social in law school because I just didn't like all the fake people and the gunners.  I made a really good group of friends with a few like minded people and that was enough for me. 

I can agree with the others that networking is important, but I sucked at it when I was in law school.  I also found a lot of the networking events at school to be cringe worthy as it would be a handful of lawyers surrounded by a group of super keen law students sucking up.  That just wasn't my style.  It's an important skill to try to develop though so I would suggest putting yourself out there because your network is everything once you actually start practicing law. 

I haven't attended that many networking events as a 1L but I felt this way about the ones I did attend. I felt so uncomfortable and don't think I gained anything valuable. Everyone keeps on talking about how important networking is but isn't it useless for people like me? I'm very introverted and I end up acting really awkward at networking events... so can't networking actually backfire? What if they remember me as that weird & boring student? I'm a lot better at interviews. and I thought many students got jobs without networking?

1 hour ago, IrishStew said:

Should I be worried going into law school as an introvert? I like keep to myself and want to get my work done independently and I'm not particularly interested in big law. I know it's better to create relationships with fellow students, but I'd prefer to do that through study groups and what not rather than networking and drinking events and frosh week type events. 

I just want to do my work, keep my head down, and graduate if that makes sense. I know employment opportunities will arise more frequently if I put myself out there, but I've had no problem in the past professionally

I wouldn't worry too much. I was the same way this year and somehow still made some really great friends. Sure, half of the class doesn't know I exist but that's not really a big deal. 

I would still recommend getting involved in 1 or 2 ECs though. I volunteered and was in a couple of clubs so that helped with getting experience and meeting people that had the same interests as me.

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This is something I worry about as well as an introvert who was accepted to a law school far away from my hometown where I would be forced to make friends.

I didn't make a whole lot of friends in undergrad and grad school. Most of my friends that are close to me are not in school, some have never been in school. 

So of course the prospect of moving far away where I would be forced to make friends as a survival mechanism gives me a lot of anxiety. 

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Posted (edited)

Networking isn’t just going to specified events, which I agree can feel artificial and dominated by the keeners. Networking is an art - a job skill that will stay with you throughout your career, and it starts in law school. Networking is when the guy who sat next to me in Tax class and went into corporate law calls me because his wealthy client’s son just got charged with fraud. Networking is when the family lawyer I met at a CPD on equality issues calls me to refer their client who just got charged with assault. Networking is when the professor I used to work for asks me to work on their team intervening on a Charter appeal. Networking is when the social worker for one of my clients asks if I can take one more.

Networking is about getting to know lots of people and being positively memorable to them. It starts every time you are introduced to a new person, you never know where a relationship will lead, and it is not reserved for special events or for getting a job - it continues through the job and is critical to your success in the job. So you may as well start now.

Edited by providence
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33 minutes ago, retakelsat said:

I haven't attended that many networking events as a 1L but I felt this way about the ones I did attend. I felt so uncomfortable and don't think I gained anything valuable. Everyone keeps on talking about how important networking is but isn't it useless for people like me? I'm very introverted and I end up acting really awkward at networking events... so can't networking actually backfire? What if they remember me as that weird & boring student? I'm a lot better at interviews. and I thought many students got jobs without networking?

 

I like the way @providence described networking in a general sense.  I hated those networking events and I certainly didn't gain anything from them and didn't go to any after 1L.  Not being good at those forced awkward networking events filled with keeners isn't going to be a deal breaker.  You can still do just fine.  It's like how students often view not getting an OCI as the end of the world.  There's tons of jobs that are available outside of OCI's. 

 

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3 hours ago, IrishStew said:

Should I be worried going into law school as an introvert? I like keep to myself and want to get my work done independently and I'm not particularly interested in big law. I know it's better to create relationships with fellow students, but I'd prefer to do that through study groups and what not rather than networking and drinking events and frosh week type events. 

I just want to do my work, keep my head down, and graduate if that makes sense. I know employment opportunities will arise more frequently if I put myself out there, but I've had no problem in the past professionally

[emphasis added]

A few scattered thoughts and bearing in mind I went to law school years ago so YMMV.

Not worried about your being an introvert, but worried about already planning to stay away from everyone else outside of class and study groups?

I'm reminded of discussions about e.g. non-drinkers and events. Even if you hate all this stuff, isn't it a valuable skill to learn while in law school rather than trying to pick it up afterwards? Being at a social event involving drinking, and getting along well with others, even if you don't drink (at all or on that occasion) is a skill that will likely be useful in future. Not just big law, and not just for getting a job, but in relating to clients. Now, if one has strong moral objections even to being in the presence of alcohol (not just drinking) that's a different discussion.

Also, if you're in a study group because you're brilliant and people want you in there, okay. But if you're average and strike people as being standoffish, why would they want you in their study group? Study group time is for study, not creating social relationships with fellow students.

One professor invited all their students (small section class) to their home for a party during or shortly after frosh week. Another course had frequent guest lecturers who went out with the professor and class to a restaurant after class. You say you're not interested in big law but that may change, and having a chance to talk to some lawyers from firm X who sponsored a golf outing and played may be interesting. There were talks by SCC justices or former justices with a wine and cheese reception afterwards at which you could mingle and get a chance to speak with the justice one-on-one, if you attended the social event part. If you prefer to just keep your head down, you may miss out on learning opportunities, not just social activities. And having a prof who knows and likes you may help - one prof trusted me (rightly) not to talk to other students about an assignment given back with marks so they just gave me more time to do it (I was away for a sporting event) and another raised my course mark from a B+ to an A because I asked (I actually had a principled argument but they didn't need to hear it, it was a seminar course with assignments in which they told students what their mark would be ahead of submitting them to the law school).

I also liked @providence post, I'd put it a bit differently (and more briefly, enough with these long posts... :rolleyes: ): networking is making other people aware of what you do and that you're likable, so that if something comes up they'll think of you with a pleasant mental association.

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Appreciate the replies. Several posts got a bit off topic and read into what I said a bit more than I had anticipated. To clarify, I have no problem professionally networking and understand its merits and I'm not going to sit in the corner in law school and avoid everyone haha. "Keep my head down" is a common phrase in my family that may have been misinterpreted. I simply just wanted to hear an introvert's point of view on going to law school, and this was helpful! Thanks everyone

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