The Introvert Lawyer, pt. 4

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September 23, 2012 by williamsjustliving

Are you a client? Do you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall when you talk to your attorney? There are two very real possibilities. First, it is possible that your attorney is a jerk. Second, it is possible that your attorney is an introvert and that you are an extrovert. Your attorney’s communication style is very different from yours in several ways. I’m not an expert on personality types, so I can’t walk you through each of the differences. I always test high for introversion, and I will (hopefully) become a barred attorney within the next 14 months. So, maybe I can help you out a little…

1. Introverts do a lot of work inside their own heads. I have a lot of inner dialogue. I do not usually expose my thought process. It almost seems counterintuitive to talk about my thought process. Your attorney may feel the same way. If you need more updates about the status of your case, create a schedule with your attorney (e.g., every other Wednesday 4pm, we’ll talk/e-mail/meet).

As an extrovert, sticking to this schedule will mean that you not contact your attorney more often than scheduled unless something comes up.

2. Introverts need time to think. If you drop a huge piece of new information an introvert lawyer, he may need a few moments to consider next steps. He may leave you in the conference while he goes to think or do research. Don’t take it personally. It’s just that whole internal dialogue thing.

3. If you are bringing new issues/information to your attorney, consider sending a preparatory e-mail. Introverts like to be prepared. Plus, if you send a preparatory e-mail you can guarantee cutting back on those awkward silences. Speaking of awkward silences…

4. You don’t need to feel like it’s your job to keep talking. Silence is a valid state of being. Your attorney may be sitting there silently, but that doesn’t mean she is absolutely idle.

5. For those clients who are introverts being represented by an extrovert attorney, don’t feel embarassed to let your attorney know that you a moment to think about something. Extroverts often process their thoughts aloud, believing that listeners understand the links. If you don’t understand how things connect, ask.

I only tell you these things because I believe that legal representation is a partnership between you and your attorney for limited purpose and a limited time. Your attorney should bring the legal knowledge and know-how. Do not, however, assume that your attorney (whether introvert or extrovert) is an expert in communication.

Did I forget any tips?


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