I am sure I want to be a lawyer. I am not sure if I can make it though. I have no problem with the school work, the only problem is with talking to new people. I just don’t like to do it. I figure by the time I get law school I will just suck it up and deal with talking to them. Everyone is telling me that I can’t become a good lawyer because I can’t lie and that I am shy. I don’t think you have to be dishonest to make it in criminal law and I think you could be relatively shy and make it.
I’m a 2L and although I’ve got a degree in communications, I can be painfully shy when meeting new people. I’ve made a habit of hiding in the back of the classroom and never ever volunteering in class and you know what? I’ve recently recieved an award for academic excellence.
As far as post-graduation (and bar passing) goes, there’s plenty of work available for those who shy away from the limelight. You don’t have to be a trial attorney, you know. You can write appellate briefs, be a research attorney, work in an area of law that requires minimal human contact (there’s plenty).
You can absolutely be an attorney with your type of personality. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either just being an ass (the lying comment) or has a very narrow view of attorneys and what it is they do.
“Everyone” that you have talked to obviously doesn’t know a thing about being a lawyer. First, as lezlars said, not all lawyers are trial lawyers - in fact, I’d guess trial lawyers are the minority, myself. (Based on my own experience in my own jurisdiction; YMMV.) There’s a lot of types of lawyers that never set foot in a court room.
Second, one cause of shyness is lack of confidence. If you know your material cold; if you’ve studied it and breathed it; if you know you’ve got it right: you’ll have the necessary self-confidence to make the presentation, to argue the point, to make the deal. The old saying is that trials aren’t won in the court room; they’re won in your own chambers, prepping, prepping, prepping. The same thing applies to other types of law as well.
Third, far from being a requirement of lawyers, lying is the mark of a scummy lawyer. The best lawyers rely on their ability and their integrity. There are times when you can’t answer a question, or can’t comment on something, but that’s far different from lying. The best trial lawyers are the ones that the judges of the court know they can trust, who will be forthright with the court, and will openly acknowledge errors or weaknesses in the case.
You work hard at high school and university on the assumption that it will open doors for your future. You may not have a career picked out, but you know that as long as you keep on that path, it will eventually be a good thing.
Well law is somewhat similar. There are a great many options for people with law degrees – often as lawyers, but sometimes in fields and endeavours quite different from law. And as far as lawyers go, there are many types of lawyers who practice many types of law – some put together business deals or real estate deals, some draft laws, some advise people and business, some duke it out in court – there are more types of law than you can shake a stick at.
If you direct your education toward law, you will not be limiting yourself, but rather you will be keeping a great many career options open. Studying law is like walking down a long hallway with many doors along the way for you to open, investigate, and either enter or continue on down the hall.
I’m moderately shy, something of a misanthrope and I plan on being a litigator. I do like to lie and enjoy confessions from criminals, though. So maybe you shouldn’t take my word for it. Just joshing…anyway, my classmates seem to really run the gamut from extremely non-talkative and shy to the jockish popular group to the slackah potheads to the band geeks (okay, they’re not in a band but they all play musical instruments in the university orchestra) to the Indian Mafia (I kid, I kid b/c I’m Indian) to the Freaks and Geeks to groupings of people based on particular races. I’m part of a couple of cliques myself. Frankly, I’m amazed at how many Indian kids I go to school with…I always thought I would be 1 of 5…I’ve never met many Indian lawyers. Having swarmed all the med schools, I think my peoples are now trying to take over The Law as well. Now I’m 1 of something like 50 or so in the school as a whole. sob I was going to be special alterna-Desi but my plan was foiled.
So it just goes to show you, chances are good that there will be someone like you at lawschool.
Oh and I totally don’t lie…I was just being flippant, if that wasn’t clear. Although, I do notice that my best friend from undergrad who went into a Ph.d track was highly disturbed and offended at the whole client confidentiality principal (which I don’t have a problem with). She considered that whole deal “lying,” so I don’t really know what people mean by the use of that word vis-a-vis lawyers anymore.