Volume 36

Introverted Lawyers: Agents of Change in the Legal Profession

by Chloe Sovinee-Dyroff

From law school admission to legal practice, students and practitioners are inundated with messages about who is, and who is not, fit to be a lawyer. The stereotypical lawyer is a fast-talking, podium-pounding extrovert who is unafraid to take aggressive stances, whether in the courtroom or at the negotiation table. The quiet observers, deep thinkers, and insightful writers, meanwhile, are pushed to the sidelines. Their authentic voices are stifled, and their natural skills underutilized. But the legal profession undervalues introverted traits to its detriment. Introverts—like all those who do not fit within the lawyer typecast— are compelled to conform to the image of what a lawyer is “supposed” to look and act like. The resulting homogeneity has engendered a profession-wide crisis that can no longer be ignored.

This Article examines the intersection between introversion, the structure of legal education, and the practice of law. Despite the emphasis placed on extroverted traits, research reveals that introverts bring powerful qualities and prized skills to the practice of law, such as empathy, collaborative leadership and negotiation styles, intrinsic and ethically centered motivation, and complex problem-solving skills. By recognizing the value of these qualities and embracing authentic styles of advocacy in general, we can strengthen the profession.


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