I think it takes a certain personality to become a great trial lawyer. I don’t have that personality, but no one at my firm realizes it yet. I’ve repeatedly taken the Briggs-Myers personality test, and I consistently score as an INTJ, a personality type known for Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, and Judgment. It’s a relatively rare personality type among the general population, but exceedingly common among people interested and disciplined enough to pursue early retirement.
As an INTJ, I am not extroverted, and often I feel anxious in social situations. This does not make for a good trial lawyer, who must persuade and charm jurors and judges, and butt heads with opposing counsel. Sure, I can force it, but that takes an immense amount of energy, and makes me anxious thinking about being put such situations (like taking a deposition I know is being defended by a royal b*tch/jerk).
In addition to how hard lawyers are expected to work, the mismatch between my job and personality type makes me want to retire even earlier. On the other hand, being a good trial lawyer also requires strategy and execution — two things INTJs happen to be good at. We’ll see which side wins out.