According to a study reported in the ABA Journal, lawyers under stress are tense, overly critical, cautious and emotionally distant.
In a related story, lawyers not under stress are tense, overly critical, cautious and emotionally distant.
The data for the study was collected at four large firms (the report didn't say which) in late 2009 and early 2010, which the study said might mean that the sample contained a disproportionately high number of "above-average performers" (that is, those who still had jobs after all the layoffs). That might explain the results, although it might also be that people who have managed to survive a bloodbath tend to be tense, overly critical, cautious and emotionally distant.
Selected results from the study are available at the links above. A couple of lowlights: on one personality index, lawyers' lowest average scores were in "Interpersonal Sensitivity" ("the degree to which a person is socially sensitive, tactful, and perceptive") followed closely by "Adjustment" (whether one is "steady" under pressure or gets "moody and self-critical"). Another index showed that we tend to be less "mischievious," "colorful" and "imaginative" than average.
A third index suggested that lawyers are more "hedonistic" than others, meaning that they tend to "value fun, good company, and good times" and are "interested in pleasure, excitement and variety." That's great news, since those first two indices showed that we are so much fun to be around. The study's authors suggested, though, that the high score on "hedonism" was "mostly driven by associates, who score much higher on Hedonism than partners." So make of that what you will.