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Who Makes a Better Attorney: Extroverts or Introverts?

By Andrew Chow, Esq. | Last updated on

When it comes to practicing law, who's better: extroverts or introverts? (Don't all speak up at once -- though we also understand if you're too shy to say.)

"It depends," may be the lawyerly answer. After all, it makes sense that extroverts would be attracted to "in-your-face" trial work, while introverts would prefer the quiet anonymity of the transactional department.

But results from a well-known personality test seem to defy the stereotype of lawyers as outspoken litigators. And a recent column in Wired suggests technology is bridging the gap between introverts and extroverts, including attorneys.

Results from the Myers Briggs Type Indicator assessment show that a whopping 57% of lawyers are introverts, a law firm consultant explained for FindLaw's Law Firm Management section. That's compared to just 25% of the general U.S. population.

Myers Briggs results also show that attorneys are:

  • Intuitors (57%), rather than Sensors;
  • Thinkers (78%), rather than Feelers; and
  • Judgers (63%), rather than Perceivers.

With a majority of attorneys being introverts, it may come as no surprise that "lawyer" came in at No. 6 in the 2008 book "200 Best Jobs for Introverts." Many of the top jobs involved sitting at a computer for long hours, ABA Journal reported.

In fact, the growing use of new technologies like cloud computing is making it easier for introverts to speak up in the workplace, a recent column in Wired magazine suggests. Online collaboration gives introverts more time to step back, think, and reply with compelling ideas and criticism.

So while some specific practice areas may still be a more natural fit for extrovert or introvert attorneys, it may not be that way for much longer. Thanks to technology, the "quiet guy" in your law office may soon be heard just as loudly as everyone else.

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