Book Review. The light bulb’s bright now. Important truths about quiet law people have been unveiled and illuminated in law professor Heidi K. Brown’s new book, The Introverted Lawyer: A Seven-Step Journey Toward Authentically Empowered Advocacy, published recently by the American Bar Association. As a result of her nine-year journey studying introversion, shyness, and social anxiety in the legal arena, personal counseling experiences, and consulting many experts, Brown developed and her book outlines a system and process of self-discovery which encourages law students and lawyers to deal authentically with their preference for the quiet life and empowers them to shine their bright light in the legal arena.

For decades, law professors, legal employers, legal colleagues or adversaries, and even judges have not fully understood, appreciated, encouraged, or welcomed quiet people. The Introverted Lawyer aims to offer a healing solution. The clamor of extraverts in the legal arena has muffled their subtle voices. But, those smart, quiet, serious thinkers have much to contribute. To help them realize their potential, this great book “offers one tangible plan for quiet law students and attorneys to embrace their authentic personas and unveil their mighty lawyer voices.” Quiet law people can seize their quiet space. They can tap into their quiet power. Hope springs from this book.

Brown’s substantial literary accomplishment reflects the strength of her intellectual curiosity, creative ability, dedication to scholarship, and writing talent. Perhaps more importantly, on page after page her book also shows humility, empathy, intense care and concern for students and colleagues, and transparency. Brown openly discusses her upbringing, past relationships, therapy engagements, and uses stories and examples from her self-described metamorphosis and personally successful and ongoing reinvention journey to benefit her readers. This appealing book fills a huge gap for quiet law people – thousands of law students and members of the legal profession who very likely number in the hundreds of thousands now have access to a better reasoned and more relevant method to garner hope and effect change. It has one certain destiny – The Introverted Lawyer will help many introverted, shy, and socially anxious people just be themselves, and will equip them to repackage their perceived challenges into valuable legal competencies.

Who Wrote The Introverted Lawyer? Law Professor and legal scholar Heidi K. Brown teaches law students and directs the legal writing program of a law school in New York City. She’s taught at two other law schools in the United States and also had a teaching gig in Italy. As a visiting professor, she helped law students gain a better mastery of English.

Before starting her full-time academic life of law teaching and writing (she also authored a two-volume legal writing book series entitled The Mindful Legal Writer) about ten years ago, Brown worked in three law firms for about 15 years. Construction litigation defined her career during that period. She did all the things that practicing lawyers do for their clients in that rough and tumble legal arena. Reviewing deals, writing and negotiating contract terms, hands-on investigation, planning litigation strategy and tactics, taking and defending depositions, examining witnesses in court, and writing and arguing briefs and motions to battle for and defend her clients comprised her work for years. Besides her research and writing talent, like her students and academic colleagues should, the readers of The Introverted Lawyer clearly benefit from author Brown’s sharing of practical experience and wisdom gained from her time in the legal trenches.

Authenticity ranks among the big ideas embedded in The Introverted Lawyer. Brown describes herself as a “card-carrying introvert and someone who struggled with severe anxiety toward public speaking for too many years in the legal context”. In the extravert-friendly world of the legal arena, including law school, the author stated that she felt that those circumstances, a “bias against quiet”, pressured her to “be something that I was not.” Consequently, thousands of law students and lawyers have for decades been pushed or felt pushed to speak in certain ways and do certain things in order to feign extraversion. Brown’s seven-part transformative process outlined in The Introverted Lawyer in addressing the many and widespread problems related to misunderstanding and not appreciating the nature of quiet law people accomplishes a very noble purpose. Very passionate concern by an expert who cares can describe her work.

Drawing on her journey of self-discovery, Brown’s work empowers them, and paves a more sure and certain way for law’s quiet people to stop faking it, seize their quiet space, and find their authentic lawyer voices. The Introverted Lawyer helps the law’s quiet people tap into and give impact to their introvert strengths. Like its author, the quiet people who face new introverted challenges in the legal arena so frequently can rely on the book’s seven-part transformative process to help them become “much happier, calmer, healthier, and successful. . . .”

Contents of The Introverted Lawyer. Brown divided The Introverted Lawyer into two neat, well-written parts. The first covers the foundation upon which the seven-step self-discovery journey and reinvention plan rests. This includes a discussion of three categories of quietude – introversion, shyness, and social anxiety. In addition to outlining basic aspects of the science behind each category, Brown in the first chapter discusses the manifestations, implications, strengths, and challenges for law students and lawyers associated with each shade of quiet. Next, she looks at the challenges faced by quiet law students and lawyers in the legal context. The final chapter of the first part makes connections between the assets of quiet law people – active listening, analytical thinking, impactful writing, and creative problem-solving – and effective lawyering.

The second part of The Introverted Lawyer, roughly two-thirds of the book’s text, introduces, outlines, and explains the seven-step plan developed by Brown. Drawing on psychological science and therapy research from several types of experts and practitioners, the author offers quiet law people a seven step self-study progression in which the travelers on this journey examine themselves to “identify and understand individual personality preferences, stress triggers, and mental and physical manifestations of anxiety in the legal world.” This seven-step sequence, a non-judgmental and mindful approach designed and built specifically for students and workers in the legal world, enables quiet law people to “develop a gradual realistic program to convert perceived weaknesses intro strengths, participate authentically in the law school and law practice experience, and become powerhouse advocates.”

The research-based system offered by The Introverted Lawyer does not offer a “quick fix”. Instead, in a clearly written and fluid format it systematically delivers a programmed and individualized sequence of steps for quiet law people to undertake slowly, purposefully, and deliberately. The seven steps help quiet law people focus on enhancing personal awareness, intuition, acceptance, and self-compassion in their own situation and according to their own personal circumstances. Momentum will build. Through mental and physical reflection, mental and physical action, agenda creating for “exposure” events, pre- and post-exposure routines for just about every scenario in academia and the practice, and post-action reflection, small successes can occur at each step. Each step will produce nuggets of progress. They all will add up and should provide benefits and foster growth. This book will help quiet law people learn how they can “just be” themselves, achieve a calmer and happier life in the law, and use their own unique quiet person traits and preferences in the most authentic way.

The Introverted Lawyer includes a summary table of contents and a useful index of author names, key words, and phrases. Readers also benefit from two helpful appendices (A – a summary of key points and takeaways; and B – practical suggestions for law professors and law mentors) and the generous listing of additional resources in print and electronic formats. Over four hundred end-notes document the scholarship found between the covers, and Brown’s skillful synthesis and use of them amply supports The Introverted Lawyer’s research-based system’s design and process, its stated aims and purposes. The author’s promises to her readers, and her book’s suggestions, arguments, and conclusions absolutely connect the reader’s heart, mind, and spirit with it, and make so true Brown’s statement “This book champions the power of introversion within the legal profession, urging the legal academy and law practice to make room for quiet thinkers and writers.”

Who Should Read The Introverted Lawyer? All law people should reap many benefits, both personal and professional, from a careful reading, studying its concepts and principles, and doing the personal self-reflection and work outlined in the seven-step program of Heidi K. Brown’s The Introverted Lawyer. Besides the introverted, shy, or socially anxious law people, Brown’s book also discusses why three broad groups of people should read this very fine book.

In law schools, deans and administrators, law professors, career development professionals, and law students can empower themselves, adjust the way legal education and career training occurs, correct misperceptions about quiet people, and capitalize on the key take-aways offered by Brown. When put into practice, the changes resulting from such empowerment can make legal academia a more inclusive, thriving, vibrant, and better place for quiet people where they can showcase a more natural, authentic persona.

Leaders of law firms, bar associations, legal departments, and individual lawyers or those responsible for recruiting, selecting, hiring, training, coaching, mentoring, and otherwise providing development opportunities for quiet lawyers can revolutionize their organizations’ work environments or service offerings. According to Brown, such a conducive and inclusive interpersonal climate where introverts can thrive will revolutionize the legal profession. However, adjustments must occur. But, Brown maintains that an environment conducive to healthy developmental growth and honoring the values, virtues, and special needs of quiet law people can exist without sacrificing service quality or compromising client interests. The final group wears the robe.

“Judges can be some of the most influential figures in shaping a quiet junior lawyer’s career path.” Although not directly involved in professional development, Brown relates an intensely personal first-time courtroom experience as a quiet lawyer, and notes that “Judges can profoundly affect a a quiet lawyer’s career trajectory through even the most fleeting moments of understanding and empathy in courtroom scenarios.”

Recommendation for The Introverted LawyerFor all the considerations noted in this review, I very highly recommend Professor Heidi K. Brown’s great book, The Introverted Lawyer: A Seven-Step Journey Toward Authentically Empowered Advocacy. Quiet lawyers, just like the hardy tulip flower, need the right conditions to come out of hibernation and bloom. This post, just like the Preface to Brown’s fine book, ends with this encouragement about hope and change for quiet law people:

“‘Given the right conditions, tulips are hardy and bloom longer than many other flowers. But they won’t bloom at all if conditions are inhospitable. Introverts are like that, too.’∗ By shaping a conducive intellectual and interpersonal climate where introverts can thrive, they will revolutionize the legal profession. Let the quiet upspring begin.”

This book will not disappoint quiet law students and lawyers. Instead, The Introverted Lawyer empowers them to seize their quiet space and tap into their quiet power. Each quiet law person who takes the reninvention journey offered by author Heidi K. Brown should, just like the tulip, come out of hibernation, bloom, transform, and then become a hardy, unique, and authentic legal powerhouse poised to deeply impact and change the profession, thrive, and flourish.

∗Quoting from The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, by M.O. Laney (see Note 14).

Order and Purchase Information: Author’s webpage – www.theintrovertedlawyer.com – The Introverted Lawyer here.

Thank You.  Thank you very much. Dan DeFoe JD MS – Adlitem Solutions | Organization Development for Professional Services Firms and the Legal Profession: People. Projects. Practices | Web – www.adlitemsolutions.com | Email: dan@adlitemsolutions.com | Blog – www.psycholawlogy.com | Services – Organization Development Practitioner combining and leveraging 25+ years of diverse legal experience, including an appellate clerkship, solo practitioner and of-counsel lawyer, and senior corporate trial attorney, 7+ years of allied health training and work experience, a Master of Science in Organizational Development Psychology, and educationally qualified or earned certifications in industry-leading Jungian (Myers-Briggs MBTI) and special business (Hogan Assessments) normal personality; ability (MSCEIT) and self-report (EQi 2.0 [derived from Bar-On model]) emotional intelligence; leadership (Certified Intentional Leadership Coach); and stress management (ARSENAL best practices system for stress resilient emotional intelligence) assessments, tools, systems, and coaching to partner with client organizations, their leaders, and member to discover needs and opportunities for growth and to design, develop, deliver, and evaluate results from implementing custom interventions for individual, team, project, or organizational solutions. | Mission:  “America’s leading resource for normal personality and emotional intelligence assessments, and related coaching, continuing education programs, training, and workshops for judges, lawyers, law schools, bar associations, healthcare, medical, and other professional services providers and their organizations and leaders.”  Please visit Adlitem Solutions and Psycholawlogy again soon. Thank you very much.

Images: Tulip Flower here |

Dan DeFoe

Owner and Lead consultant at Adlitem Solutions
I'm an attorney with 20+ years of experience and have an MS degree in organizational development psychology. I provide normal personality and emotional intelligence assessments, assessment interpretation and feedback, and professional development planning and training activities for lawyers, judges, other legal services providers, and their organizations.
 

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