Successful attorney with schizophrenia?

Several years ago I had a student bow maker who was also a very successul prosecutor. He was also a very impressive historian and was a pleasure to work with as he learned to make bows and relayed to me events from history that I had heard nothing about.

I would notice anytime I walked away into the house I would hear voices comming from outside and just assumed he talked to himself. As I got to know him better it bcame obvoius he was carrying on conversations with an invisible person. He would often change his voice and tone radicaly when carrying on these conversations. As time went on and he became more comfortable around me he would often do this in my presence if I were working on something else and we weren't talking. 

  He was obviously extremely intelligent and had no problems concentrating on what he was doing, by far he was the quickest study I have worked with. Is this not unusual to have folks like this working in important jobs. I have no doubt as to his ability to perform his job but I wonder about his ability to blend in amoungst his peers. Did they likley accept him just as I had?

If he’s hard-working, effective, and doesn’t present a danger to anybody, he’ll be fine.

I don’t know if that is schizophrenia, there are a lot of mental illnesses out there.

Having said that I’ve met physicians, scientists and professors who had illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar.

I’m a little confused by your post. This person is a lawyer?

If so, why you think this person is mentally ill? Many lawyers who go to court often have learned to verbalize expected questioning and testimony as a way to practice before court. They often carry that verbalization over to situations outside of court.

You might have explained my confusion. He never struck me as mentaly ill besides the two way conversations with himself. It seemed a little beyond that but as you say it may have just been a quirk of his. Always carried on beautiful conversations, I could lsiten to him for hours and never feel like he was bending my ear.

When you become a lawyer, and start Court room advocacy, you realise what a disconnect there is between your mind and mouth. What sounds perfect in your head, sounds pretty awful when it comes out. That being said, your guy goes beyond what I would expect. A bit of verbalisation before time in order to be able to properly explain the thought that is to be put to a judge is one thing. Conversations? That’s weird.

Sometimes on my long walks to work, I’ll rehearse what I’m going to say at staff meetings. Or I’ll replay previous conversations I’ve had. Or I’ll imagine future conversations and “try out” different scripts. Since I walk the same couple of routes every morning, I’m sure motorists have noticed me talking to no one and have pegged me as “crazy”.

I just noticed today that as I am writing I am saying the words out loud. This is new. I was thinking it was just old age and senility, but now I have to think about schizophrenia? Eek.

I’ll just add that apparently this little quirk is a warning sign of the disease (among many things).

I’m fine with this. I’ve never promised anyone that I’m completely sane. :smiley:

I assume this guy does backroom work only, limited/no direct contact with clients or judges. If so, and if he understands his disease and how to deal with it, there’s no reason he can’t be as effective as in any other job.

I’m sure most people do these things…just not out loud. I certainly do the first and third on a regular basis myself.

I had a debate coach when I was in high school who taught us that when we were preparing for opening and closing statements, or trying to decide how we were planning to respond to the most likely questions we were going to be asked, it was absolutely the best to do this out loud and in our regular speaking voices.

This is in part because part of the practice was to get you used to saying precisely those words and let you work on delivery and pacing and the like - and that’s not quite the same when you’re only doing it inside your head. Things always sound different when you’re using your out-loud voice. Also if you’re not one of those people who naturally loves public speaking, repeating things out loud gets you helps build up your tolerance so when the actual public speaking moment arrives, you’re less likely to freeze up or blank.

Since a number of my fellow debaters from different schools received similar advice from their own coaches, I’m thinking it was common advice. It was certainly sensible advice. I wouldn’t be surprised if the lawyer at some point received it too and does it reflexively now. After all, lawyers are frequently judged - with serious consequences - on their verbalizations. Dang near all attorneys I’ve worked with had at least some formal debate/speech training.