Archive for May, 2013

So how does an HSP who marches to a different drummer survive as a lawyer??

You may well ask.

Well first she gets lucky (a trait I seem to have which may or may not be related to the HSP/INFJ stuff) and goes to THE perfect law school. They encouraged is to really think. No hornbooks, we read every case from beginning to end with every footnote and every badly written account of what happened. Every. Single. Word. (In many cases much was not said that needed to be said. Like what happened at the level below in the appeal.)

Second the perfectionism that is so characteristic of the HSP helped. I read every case and I briefed every case. EVERY CASE. I didn’t resent it. I was thrilled to be there and thrilled to discover I was good at this stuff. (The 2 year SCALE program demanded dedication and motivation, and… determination. “Known as SCALE, the program features an accelerated law school curriculum that challenges students to master analytical reasoning and legal writing skills while remaining sensitive to ethical obligations and client needs.

A trailblazer since 1974, the SCALE Program has focused on integrating substantive knowledge and professional skills instruction, a model that is just now being incorporated into curricular reforms at many other law schools in response to the call for more practical skills training in legal education.”)

They–the school and our professors– also were determined to keep the destructive competition out of our experience, That helped, too.

I think the fact that i sued both sides of my brain probably helped–although the left brain was the one “hauling the laboring oar.” (It was years later that I realized why I had to listen to jazz while I studied– 4 or 5 hours at night, after class every single day. it gave my right brain something to do! Oh-and I don’t much like jazz.)

In any case, I didn’t study in the library. I sent home and jogged–outdoors in nature in the beautiful, tree filled  little town of Sierra Madre.This burned off anxiety and soothed my soul. The whole town did. And I didn’t have anyone else’s “stuff” distracting me. (Of course I didn’t know this was a factor then. I did know when I typed my Bar exam I was happy it was a much smaller group and there would be fewer crazies.)

So that’s how I survived that 2 years. I studied alone– no study groups for me. Probably an HSP control thing. I did all the work and did it on time. I did not wait until the last minute. (Control, perfectionism.)

And that is hw it all began.

I am also an INFJ… at Law.

May 19, 2013 4 comments

OK so I admit I never liked the Meyers Briggs stuff. I am not sure why. I do remember us doing some sort of metric in law school and I was in a quadrant all by myself—no one else in my (small) class was like me. But this law school class (SCALE) was not like the “traditional” law schools so, it was “all good.”

I know that more recently, when I joined a LinkedIn group on the MBTI, I still found it cumbersome. Maybe that is because I can—and always could—“read” people without a metric. (I now know that INFJs are famous for this. And for some GREAT comments and cartons on these qualities see the blog of INFJoe.)

Now I realize there is at least one upside to the MBTI. It has a following. If I talk about HSP it is dismissed. But many people “get” MBTI and anyone can look it up and see it is in wide use. It has also helped me realize my nature (that I could never get rid of all these years, despite my obsession with personal growth) is not a sickness, a disease, or a curse… it is just an inborn set of traits I may as well use, enjoy… and just plain live with.

So I am not just an HSP lawyer… I am an INFJ lawyer. I ask you—is this your picture of the archetypal lawyer???

“Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubbornness and tendency to ignore other people’s opinions. They believe [feel deeply] that they’re right. On the other hand, INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments. They have strong value systems, and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. In deference to the Feeling aspect of their personalities, INFJs are in some ways gentle and easy going. Conversely, they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families. They don’t believe in compromising their ideals.? (see here)

So I am not like your average lawyer. Even in law school I just “knew” when my legal research was done—most agonized over it. Earlier yet, I just knew I could take the LSAT with no formal prep —I scored 165. I also applied to only one law school—and that one was  a perfect fit. (I was called impulsive but it was really intuition.)

I have been put down by a whole lot of people… but in oh so many cases I was right in the end, and now I know why.

And I also know why I am always quite willing to change my opinions if the facts indicate it, and will always be a work in progress. And often dismissed and not infrequently envied—secretly.

A mixed blessing to have—an UNMIXED blessing to finally recognize.

I’m BAAACCCK, now.. I am Carroll, HSP at law

So OK I have been silent for a while. I just didn’t have the urge to lay it all out for a while. I bought a house and that was a biggie– I have been a gypsy for 4–count em FOUR–years.  So I am getting used to that and I am sussing out what is next for me. And I have learned that when I feel reluctant to  do something there is a reason. I just don’t always find out why. In any case– I am back.

And one thing has become clear. Much of what I have written about here is explained by the likelihood my brain IS different. (I am not unique in this…  20% of the population are this way.) I am an HSP.

My idealism? HSP. My hunches, like the priest one, which I wrote about here? ? HSP. The many and significant synchonicities and lucky breaks–most of which I will now write about? HSP. My multiple interests and gifts? HSP. ( Warning… This can be a curse.) My analytical habits of mind? HSP.

My obsession with truth and my never-ending curiosity?  HSP– as in this quote from “Overexcitabality and the Gifted

Intellectual OE is demonstrated by a marked need to seek understanding and truth, to gain knowledge, and to analyze and synthesize (Dabrowski & Piechowski, 1977; Piechowski, 1979, 1991). Those high in Intellectual OE have incredibly active minds. They are intensely curious, often avid readers, and usually keen observers. They are able to concentrate, engage in prolonged intellectual effort, and are tenacious in problem solving when they choose. Other characteristics may include relishing elaborate planning and having remarkably detailed visual recall. People with Intellectual OE frequently love theory, thinking about thinking, and moral thinking. This focus on moral thinking often translates into strong concerns about moral and ethical issues-fairness on the playground, lack of respect for children, or being concerned about “adult” issues such as the homeless, AIDS, or war. Intellectually overexcitable people are also quite independent of thought and sometimes appear critical of and impatient with others who cannot sustain their intellectual pace. Or they may be become so excited about an idea that they interrupt at inappropriate times.”

OK I admit it– I do interrupt  this way. I thought I was just weird. I guess not. WIRED that way? Apparently. (BTW the term “over”–“overexcitable”– is applied by  those who are otherwise. Its not “over”  if it is exactly who and what you are.)

I am also an INFJ, No wonder I saw that family law as combat made  no sense to me at first glance. No wonder I write. No wonder my passion is often met with criticism by the self proclaimed spiritual types who think that “detachment”– lack of emotion” –equals the height of spiritual accomplishment. (I wish I had said this last Sunday– “I will let you teach me about power if you will let me teach you abut humility” . Hmph.)

So how did such a person end up in law? Part hunches, part synchronicity and part luck.

Stay tuned,