August 2016 Bar Bulletin
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The Quirky Lawyer:
Understanding the Genius of Personality Type
(Third of Four Parts)

By Stacey L. Romberg

 

This article is the third of four installments designed to provide insight into how understanding the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® enables attorneys to become more effective in managing their career, relating to clients, and overseeing their offices.

 

In my first article, I provided an overview of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) and explored how being an introvert or an extrovert can influence an attorney’s approach to career choices and time management. In my second article, I discussed the three lesser-known personality indicators and explained how an attorney’s preference for one over another can significantly impact that attorney’s legal practice.

In this article, I will examine my own personality type as an example of how attorneys can become better lawyers and make more informed career choices by gaining a more thorough understanding of their types.

What Are the Key Attributes of an Attorney with an INTJ Personality Type?

In analyzing your type, you first need to know your full Myers-Briggs profile. As stated in my first article, when you take the MBTI® exam from an MBTI®-certified practitioner, you will discover your four personality indicators and the strength of your preference for each indicator based on a scale of 1–30.

For example, my full type is an “INTJ,” specifically: introversion (12), intuition (7), thinking (27) and judging (30). I strongly prefer thinking and judging, but my inclinations toward introversion and intuition are not as pronounced.

INTJs comprise about 1 percent of the general population.1 Although three of these four INTJ personality indicators, specifically introversion, intuition and thinking, can be considered minority traits in the general population,2 all four are predominant personality traits for lawyers.3

Once you know your Myers-Briggs profile, then you can research the details. What are the general traits exhibited by your type? For example, “INTJs look to the future rather than the past, and a word which captures the essence of INTJs is builder — a builder of systems and the applier of theoretical models.”4

According to Jessica Butts, author of Live Your Life from the Front Seat, the INTJ type is “The Scientist.” If you are an INTJ, “you have complex visions or perspectives that you are unable to explain with clarity to others” and “you always think about what’s next, or how you could be improving yourself or your situation.”5 Further, “order is important to you,” “you direct action and make decisions,” “you are an impersonal decision maker,” and “you solve problems in a systematic manner.”6

By understanding the traits inherent in your type, you will know your natural strengths. You can use this information to make informed career choices that play into those strengths.

How Can an INTJ Personality Type Affect an Attorney’s Career?

By developing a working knowledge of your personality type, you will be equipped to understand the twists and turns your career has taken and to use this information in making future decisions. Using my career, I will provide three examples:

• As an INTJ, I am a natural entrepreneur. “NJs are the entrepreneurs of the world.”7 “Being the most independent of all the types, [INTJs] have a strong need for autonomy ....”8 True to type, I have generally felt confined working in settings where I have lacked autonomy, whereas running my own law firm immediately felt as comfortable as a well-worn pair of jeans.

• When I started my law firm in 1999, I decided to develop it as a virtual firm. Although novel at the time, the choice seemed both easy and a natural fit for me. Now I understand how that decision flowed innately from my personality. “INTJs are natural brainstormers, always open to new concepts and, in fact, aggressively seeking them.”9


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