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AffirmedHope
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:02 PM
Can it be done? I will be starting law school next fall and I want to know from the lawyers on board if riding and showing can still be done during these grueling 3 years. I'm talking riding maybe three times a week and showing once or twice every couple of months. All I have to go on right now are the "horror" stories from others about how they pretty much ate, slept, studied and went to class, with no time for other activities. How did you do it?

fordtraktor
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:10 PM
I rode 6 days a week in law school, it kept me sane. Everyone else goes to the gym, my horse was my recreation time. You can't study 24 hours a day, nor will you need to. You will need to spend about every other waking moment on law school, though, if you want to keep up.

I didn't show, for financial reasons, so I can't help you there! I COULD have, though, from a time management perspective.

I liked law school, had a lot more time to ride then than my first few years in practice. It only gets worse, until you are established and then it can get better.

MoonRiver5
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:10 PM
What you've described can be done, except that you'll probably have to take at least 2 weeks off from riding during finals, and you may have weeks where you ride more like 1-2 times, instead of 3-4. When I was in law school, and while I studied for the bar, I still saw my horse about that often, although he was a baby then so we weren't showing. It was actually a good mental break for me, though there were definitely weeks where I just couldn't spare the time to get to the barn. If you have a friend or trainer who can ride your horse once or twice a week, that would probably make things easier on you so that at least you know he's doing something if you can't get there.

I actually don't think I saw my horse any less during law school than I do now as a lawyer... so balancing the two will be good preparation for the working world! Good luck. Remember, law school is a marathon, not a sprint. Don't burn yourself out.

ETA: Since it came up below (enjoying this thread while I eat my lunch today), I did law review, and moot court, and got pretty decent grades, so it can be done, you just have to budget your time wisely. Law review, by the way, was a total waste of time, other than it probably helped me get my first Big Law job (which I hated, but that's a whole 'nother story).

Jeito
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:17 PM
It depends. Where are you going to law school? I went to the University of Virginia, class of 1991, and rode and showed all three years. I didn't have my own horse the first year, bought a three-year-old that summer. Also got to ride other people's horses and worked with several excellent trainers. I had pretty good grades, got a federal clerkship, and had offers from top law firms. But watch out - in my experience, being an associate in a law firm is way more grueling than law school!

Edited to add: The first summer I stayed in Charlottesville and did a lot of ridiing/showing. The second summer I was a summer associate at a couple of law firms and did zero riding.

joiedevie99
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:17 PM
Law school will take as much take time and energy as you are willing to commit to it. Personally, I wasn't willing to put the rest of my life on hold, and I was willing to accept that I didn't do every shred of reading assigned in every class.

I kept one horse boarded about 20 minutes from school, and rode 5-6 days per week. I rode two of the owner's horses once or twice per week for her as well. During 3L, I bought a project horse and rode her 5-6 days per week too.

Most days were: wake up around 10, review outline and organize for class, class from 11-3:00, head to the barn from 3:00-6:00. Get home, spend 30 minutes at the gym, eat dinner, and get down to homework from 8 to 12. If I had a lot, I would keep working until 1 or 2.

I had no Friday classes after 1L, so I spent 6-8 hours or so on reading during the day before heading to the barn.

I refused to do work on Saturdays except around exams. On Saturday I rode, saw friends, shopped, relaxed, etc.

Sunday was the same as Friday except I rode in the morning and read in the afternoon. By 3L, I was refusing to work on Sundays as well.

I got some excellent grades and some middle of the pack grades- I didn't let that get to me. I was at a top 10 school, got biglaw jobs 1L and 2L summers, and had plenty of options after graduation.

The market is different now, and I've heard its causing a great deal more stress- but law school is really what you make of it.

If you are the anxious type that feels the need to read every assigned page, never read the case notes instead of the case and make all of your own outlines from scratch- you will have to devote almost every waking moment to it - and you still may not get it all done.

ETA: I did show, although not that often due to finances. As someone else mentioned above, I took two weeks off during exams.

meupatdoes
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:18 PM
Can it be done? I will be starting law school next fall and I want to know from the lawyers on board if riding and showing can still be done during these grueling 3 years. I'm talking riding maybe three times a week and showing once or twice every couple of months. All I have to go on right now are the "horror" stories from others about how they pretty much ate, slept, studied and went to class, with no time for other activities. How did you do it?

I attended law school M-W, skipped any Thurs classes and went to go ride my horses who lived a 5 hour drive away Thurs-Sun. My horses were not ready for rated shows at the time but we hit the local shows pretty much every weekend.

Do not fall into everyone else's rat race where law school is Dramatic And Hard. Just get the Examples and Explanations, read those, and take a chill pill. Do not participate in the Great Studying Competition where everyone who says they studied TWELVE HOURS gets one upped by those who say well we studied FOURTEEN HOURS (:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:) and magically you will have time for a life.

Oh, and forget law review.
Biggest waste of time ever. Couldn't be happier that I skipped it entirely (to the jaw dropped amazement of my friends) and went to go ride instead.

bambam
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:22 PM
Depends on a bunch of things but, yes, it can be done.
I rode about 5 days a week during law school but that was possible because the barn was about 10 minutes from my house and I was a pretty good time manager. You cannot study every waking minute so spend your free time riding- discobold is right, finding time to ride/compete is much harder after graduation if you go the biglaw route.
I did not show during law school but I had a friend who did jumpers and his owners flew him down to Florida to compete their horses most weekends. I have no idea how he did it, but he did it at a top 15 law school and with good grades.

SidesaddleRider
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:23 PM
Absolutely! I graduated from law school in 2010. Not only did I ride/show/hunt, we owned our own farm, and I had a 1.5 hr commute each way.

The first year was the worst, as I couldn't choose my class schedule, and had classes 5 days/week -- but luckily only 1 on Friday. The second and third years, I purposefully only had classes on 2 (LONG) days, and worked at an internship 2 days/week.

Did I do Law Review? NO. There was NO WAY that I had the time to do that by the time I added in riding/farm/commuting. However, it is perfectly do-able to go to class, study, and do well, and continue to ride/show. I did do some writing, however, and was published in a journal, so you can do other types of writing on your own.

busylady
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:39 PM
I think riding helped me get through law school. Spending time at the barn helped me relax. I found that taking study breaks allowed me to clear my head which in turn made me more focused when I was studying. Also, spending time away from my classmates was a good thing. Law students feed off each other and compete with one another, I didn't want or need that stress. I was the type of student who read everything (then got irritated when the professor spent the lecture time explaining it to the folks who hadn't done the reading....). As long as you create a schedule, and don't let yourself get behind in your studies, you will be fine. I didn't show during law school because I didn't have the money. Don't be tempted to you student loans to finance your riding habit, for if you live like a lawyer in law school you will live like a student as a lawyer.

I agree with everyone who have stated they had more time for riding when they were in school than they do as working lawyers. Urgh, if only I could have as much free time now as I did when I was a student...

trabern
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:47 PM
First, you will be healthier and saner if you can continue your non-academic passions in Law School by getting outside and working out. (I ran 40 miles a week--no horses possible for economic reasons).

Second, be prepared to lose any drive to show/compete. You might need to get away from the competition/pressure of school by making your horse time YOUR horse time. By all means compete if it feels good, it just might lose its meaning for awhile.

Even a bad ride is better than a great hour in the law library.

As everyone says, you will have more riding time/energy as a law student then you will as a lawyer!

Rabbit351w
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:48 PM
Agree with everything busylady said. I went to a top tier school, rode 5-6 days a week, interned my 2L and 3L year, and was on a journal those years as well. I mostly rode in the mornings before class (at the barn by 7am or so, so not even crazy early). It really is just about time management, which is a good skill to have as a lawyer anyway!

TarheelJD
Jun. 2, 2011, 12:57 PM
I did not ride in law school -- but in retrospect I wish I had. I think it would have been doable, especially as a 3L.

I stopped riding my freshman year in college, and did not pick it up again until I was out of law school for about 8 years. As many have said, I had more free time in law school than I did as a junior associate.

If you think you want to go to Big Law after graduation, absolutely do not bypass the opportunity to do law review in order to make time for riding. My firm used to hire 50-60 summer associates a year, now it is less than 10. The market is so competitive that we've turned down applicants that are in the top of their class at T1 schools. All of our 2011 Summers are law review. I doubt we even interviewed anyone who wasn't.

Have a great 3 years in law school -- I did! It's an incredible experience, and I made some of the best friends I will ever have in my life there. As an earlier poster noted, don't let yourself get dragged into the p*ssing contest of who studied more, yada, yada, yada. It will just needlessly mess with your head.

ExJumper
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:04 PM
PhD in physics, here, with a question:

What the heck is Law Review?

fordtraktor
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:06 PM
If you think you want to go to Big Law after graduation, absolutely do not bypass the opportunity to do law review in order to make time for riding. My firm used to hire 50-60 summer associates a year, now it is less than 10. The market is so competitive that we've turned down applicants that are in the top of their class at T1 schools. All of our 2011 Summers are law review. I doubt we even interviewed anyone who wasn't.
.

I agree with this -- I would not purposefully pass up law review in this market, if you have the opportunity. I was not on law review but was EIC of a specialty journal and had plenty of time for that in addition to riding six times a week. I did not do clinicals but did all my reading for class, etc. But it is a huge time sink -- to fit in the journal management I was in the journal office at 6 a.m. and home at midnight, with time out to ride and go to enough parties to get to know other people, a key aspect of law school as well.

Law review definitely trumps clinicals in interviews/job prospects, much more prestigious.

I can do about anything for 3 years without burnout. Then you get to start working, which is so different than law school that you can get at least another 3 years before burnout at that, even if you are working insane hours. Then you can start thinking about what you are going to do that is more sustainable.

fordtraktor
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:08 PM
PhD in physics, here, with a question:

What the heck is Law Review?

Student-run academic journals. Law professors' writings are generally published there instead of by peer review. Lots of flaws to that system but it is what it is. They are generally manned by the top of the class, with a few "write-on" spots, or a combination of grades and writing competition which is how my school did it (no grade-ons at my school but most on law review were in fact the top of the class).

Phaxxton
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:24 PM
Law school will take as much take time and energy as you are willing to commit to it. Personally, I wasn't willing to put the rest of my life on hold, and I was willing to accept that I didn't do every shred of reading assigned in every class.


This. :yes:

I had two horses, two PT jobs, and rode 5-6 days a week throughout law school. And despite what nearly EVERYONE told me, I didn't fail miserably. I (quite literally) graduated at the very top of my class and a semester early. Typical law school experience? Probably not... but honestly, if the legal reasoning and problem-solving comes easily to you, law school won't be a problem. If, like some people, you struggle to grasp that way of thinking, you will need to dedicate more time to your studies. BTW, whether or not this comes easily to you is no indication of your intelligence or long-term success either. Law school doesn't "click" for many people until the end of 1L or beginning of 2L year. That's okay. Just see how it comes to you and dedicate the amount of time you feel comfortable dedicating to studying. It doesn't have to be life-consuming, but many people make it that way.

In fact, had far more time to ride in law school than I did my first few years of practicing law. However, second year was tough time-wise, as I had Law Review assignments, my appellate law brief, and a law review not to write. Still, I managed to keep riding regularly and (had finances not been in the way) could have shown.

A few notes from my experience...

1. Absolutely, without a doubt, try to get on Law Review or a journal. It is an extremely important piece of your resume upon graduation.

2. Block out the negativity and competition around you. I have heard that some schools are less competitive than others. I don't mean less challenging academically, just the student body itself winds up being less competitive with one another. My law school class was one of the most anal-retentive, competitive group of people I have ever met in my entire life... Even the Big Law firm I worked at was better. :lol: I just had to block out all the people who couldn't believe I didn't spend every waking moment at the library and couldn't believe I didn't put riding aside to go to law school. My philosophy was that if I had to put my passion on hold to go to law school, then law school wasn't for me. Others felt differently, and that is okay for them. It wouldn't have worked for me. Different strokes. I literally had someone tell me they didn't think I was smart enough to be in their study group first semester b/c I didn't spend enough time studying. Joke was on them when rankings came out next semester. :lol::lol::lol: I was a lot more polite in declining their study group invite next semester.

3. DO NOT use law school loans to fund your horse habit. The best advice I never took was "If you live like a lawyer while you are in law school, you will live like a law student when you're a lawyer." Law school is expensive enough -- Even WITH my parents paying for my first year, I had about $85-90k in loans when I graduated. That is a mortgage in some places.

4. Get some law firm experience while you are in law school and make sure it is really the career path for you. I won't talk anyone out of law school because most of my friends from law school absolutely love what they do... but I honestly hated it, despite my success in school and in practice.

5. Go to class. Sounds stupid, but it gets easy to skip class. Or maybe I was just the biggest slacker ever.

6. Get good at time management now. It will help you balance school (and later work) with the rest of your life without causing you too much stress. Get good at prioritizing, too. There are some weeks you won't get to ride as much as others, and it's really not the end of the world. I can't remember if I rode during finals... but I'm guessing I probably took a week or two off from riding to cram for exams. It was a good mental break for the horses and allowed me to study without distraction.

7. If you go away to school, try to make non-law school friends as well as law school friends. Riding is great for this, as you'll likely have some people to socialize with at the barn (even if just to ride together or something). Non-law school friends were a huge stress-reliever for me b/c I couldn't stand if every second of my life somehow revolved around law school. Law school friends and a law student support system are just as important. No one knows as well as they do what it feels like to be under that type of stress and in that environment. So, while you have a life outside of law school, take time to make some friends in law school. I made some of my best friends while I was in law school - some in law school and some through riding.

Good luck! If you have any questions or anything, feel free to PM me. I'm happy to share my experiences.

meupatdoes
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:25 PM
I can do about anything for 3 years without burnout. Then you get to start working, which is so different than law school that you can get at least another 3 years before burnout at that, even if you are working insane hours. Then you can start thinking about what you are going to do that is more sustainable.

Personally (and yes, I did the Ivy->Big Law route), I would caution against spending 6 years of your adult life doing something relentlessly unless you really want to do it.

If you calculate Healthy, Adult Life between the ages of 20 and 70, 6 years is more than 10%. IF you stay healthy and active through your 70's.

Those are an awful lot of your best years to be sacrificing as a slave to Something Else just to Get Ahead Eventually, when it is also possible to lead a rich and full life without doing that.

Best advice I can give to the OP is:
law students will try to get you to study 16 hours a day. They will compete with you to see who can martyr themselves to law school even more than everybody else.
Then when you get to work, it is the same thing all over again. Who was in the office the latest, who can work more holidays, who can sit at the conference table and beat their chest about being in the office until 2am on Thanksgiving, blah blah blah blah BLAH.

It is categorically
a.) not worth it
b.) unecessary in the grand scheme of things.

Please do not fall into the trap.

Phaxxton
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:29 PM
Student-run academic journals. Law professors' writings are generally published there instead of by peer review. Lots of flaws to that system but it is what it is. They are generally manned by the top of the class, with a few "write-on" spots, or a combination of grades and writing competition which is how my school did it (no grade-ons at my school but most on law review were in fact the top of the class).

Yup. To add to this, in most schools, there are three ways to get onto Law Review:

First, the top X number of students (anywhere from 3-5) "grade" on. That just means the top 3 - 5 students are automatically invited to participate in Law Review.

Second, there is a writing competition that is scored by current Law Review members. The top 3-5 scores (again, # varies) are automatically invited to be on Law Review.

Third, the rest of the spots are filled by those who qualify by virtue or a combination of their grades and their score on the writing competition.

Law Review is only one journal (though considered the most prestigious at pretty much every school and by employers). There are usually multiple journals at each school, though. If one doesn't make Law Review, it would be a good idea to try to make another journal. It is (relatively) good experience for those interested in litigation especially, and it is a really important part of resumes for employment post-graduation.

That said, I found Law Review mind-numbingly boring. :lol: However, if someone wants to get a job upon graduation, a journal is an absolute necessity if grades / writing competition allow it. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER turn down Law Review. It is one of the most important things on a law student's resume.

Jeito
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:30 PM
Hey, hey, hey, there seem to be a lot of busy high-powered lawyers with lots of time to spend on COTH :lol: :lol: :lol: (laughing at myself too, less anyone get offended :winkgrin:)

Phaxxton
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:33 PM
Personally (and yes, I did the Ivy->Big Law route), I would caution against spending 6 years of your adult life doing something relentlessly unless you really want to do it.

If you calculate Healthy, Adult Life between the ages of 20 and 70, 6 years is more than 10%. IF you stay healthy and active through your 70's.

Those are an awful lot of your best years to be sacrificing as a slave to Something Else just to Get Ahead Eventually, when it is also possible to lead a rich and full life without doing that.

Best advice I can give to the OP is:
law students will try to get you to study 16 hours a day. They will compete with you to see who can martyr themselves to law school even more than everybody else.
Then when you get to work, it is the same thing all over again. Who was in the office the latest, who can work more holidays, who can sit at the conference table and beat their chest about being in the office until 2am on Thanksgiving, blah blah blah blah BLAH.

It is categorically
a.) not worth it
b.) unecessary in the grand scheme of things.

Please do not fall into the trap.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but this was pretty much my experience, too, though I lasted a lot longer than 3 years in Big Law.

They were the worst, most stressful, most useless years of my life. The ONLY good that came out of them was meeting my (non-lawyer) husband and making enough money to put the down payment on my farm. I wouldn't ever do law school over again.

That said, MANY of my friends lead fulfillng, happy lives with careers they love as lawyers. Most of them are just SO into law to the point they really, truly enjoy it. I never was. The others had law school paid for and therefore are able to take lower-paying, 40-hour per week law jobs. In this legal market, those are basically not available to new lawyers... You have to understand how LIFE-CONSUMING law school and practicing law is and make sure you truly want to do it. I graduated during the glory days of Big Law - huge raises and pay scale increases every year, insanely high bonuses, first class travel, etc. It is NOT like that anymore anywhere. And even back then, the soul-sucking part of it wasn't worth it.

Phaxxton
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:36 PM
Hey, hey, hey, there seem to be a lot of busy high-powered lawyers with lots of time to spend on COTH :lol: :lol: :lol: (laughing at myself too, less anyone get offended :winkgrin:)

A sign of the legal market in most places. ;)

Personally, I walked away from high-powered lawyering and never looked back. :winkgrin:

TarheelJD
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:37 PM
Hey, hey, hey, there seem to be a lot of busy high-powered lawyers with lots of time to spend on COTH :lol: :lol: :lol: (laughing at myself too, less anyone get offended :winkgrin:)

I know, huh! :D

I love breaking up my day with COTH -- keeps me sane at the office!

ExJumper
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:37 PM
To whom do you bill COTH hours?

Phaxxton
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:39 PM
To whom do you bill COTH hours?

"Legal Reading"

TarheelJD
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:42 PM
To whom do you bill COTH hours?

Ah, but that I could bill the time suck that is COTH! Unfortunately, I'm usually on during lunch.

I actually like what I do about 85% of the time. I have a high stress practice, but it is the nature of my practice area, not my firm. If you like the type of law you practice, you can survive a big firm without being miserable.

And it pays the horse/riding expenses -- I'm grateful for that.

Cita
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:44 PM
I think good advice in general - work smart, not "hard"! I love this blog for role models on how to be successful and still have free time: http://calnewport.com/blog/

fordtraktor
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:50 PM
Personally (and yes, I did the Ivy->Big Law route), I would caution against spending 6 years of your adult life doing something relentlessly unless you really want to do it.

If you calculate Healthy, Adult Life between the ages of 20 and 70, 6 years is more than 10%. IF you stay healthy and active through your 70's.

Those are an awful lot of your best years to be sacrificing as a slave to Something Else just to Get Ahead Eventually, when it is also possible to lead a rich and full life without doing that.

Best advice I can give to the OP is:
law students will try to get you to study 16 hours a day. They will compete with you to see who can martyr themselves to law school even more than everybody else.
Then when you get to work, it is the same thing all over again. Who was in the office the latest, who can work more holidays, who can sit at the conference table and beat their chest about being in the office until 2am on Thanksgiving, blah blah blah blah BLAH.

It is categorically
a.) not worth it
b.) unecessary in the grand scheme of things.

Please do not fall into the trap.

I guess I don't feel there is a "trap." I loved my biglaw experience, had a great time, nothing like being on a small trial team winning a interesting, multi-billion-dollar antitrust case. That's pretty much as fun as any course I've ever jumped and even at its worst was no more grueling than some of my working student times.

There are no secrets about biglaw, if you don't want to do it you don't have to -- but don't categorically knock it either. I spent 5 years there and now have the ideal lawyer job, part-time General Counsel for a former biglaw client. The biglaw job put me in a position to have my own farm and make a good living working 2 days a week. It is not a life sentence nor is it total misery. Just do your best to enjoy the good parts (recruiting lunches! nice hotels! settlement parties!), avoid the golden handcuffs and it can be a great experience. I only left because I had a kid and that doesn't work well with biglaw.

I never sat around doing face time either. My work and billable hours spoke for themselves, no need to be seen if you are performing.

As for COTH, the best part of being in-house is not tracking billables! I am currently using COTH to avoid writing my advice column in our magazine...no wonder I can't motivate! On days like this I miss biglaw, sigh.

FineAlready
Jun. 2, 2011, 01:51 PM
Lots of good advice here. Riding and law school can definitely be done. I rode about twice a week (sometimes more) in law school, but did not show and did not own my own horse. However, I think I could have managed riding more and showing if that had been financially possible at the time. I also ran 30 minutes to an hour every day.

As for law review...I do think it helped in the job search (some firms won't even interview a person who was not on law review, moot court, or both). However, if you don't get on law review or moot court, it's not the end of the world. It just opens up more job options for you, and, in my opinion, is worth doing. I was on the Wisconsin Law Review board my 3L year, and actually found it to be good experience in managing people. It's not nearly as time-consuming or stressful as some people would have you believe.

While you don't want to fall into the trap of spending 16 hours a day studying, I would caution that law school did require me to spend a LOT more time studying than undergraduate school required. To be perfectly honest, between attending class and out of class studying, I really do think I spent around 8-10 hours a day studying or doing other law school-related things. I am a worrier by nature, and I really just felt more comfortable immersing myself in it so as to give myself the best chance possible. Doesn't work for everyone, though. One of my best friends probably spent less than 4 hours a day on law school and did crazy things during exam time like bake brownies and pies, go apple picking, attend art shows...basically anything other than study. We graduated with almost the exact same GPA - she was 10th in the class, I was 9th. The whole law school thing probably just came more naturally for her and/or she was a whole lot smarter than me. :)

The point is, it is hard to say how much time you personally will have to spend studying, but even if you are a freak like me and study a WHOLE LOT, you can still make time for horses!

2tempe
Jun. 2, 2011, 02:05 PM
OP: I didn't do law school, but back in the younger days, I was working full time and in a well-respected MBA program evenings, getting done in three years. In the first year I actually bought my first horse because I needed something to break the stress of work/class/study. Managed to ride 3 days/week; sometimes four, and was much happier for the process!

As others have said, you can get sucked into either the school part or the work part so deep its unbelievable; over the years I've watched the workaholics do their 80 hour a week thing and can't say its gotten them much more in the end.

Whether its riding or whatever, you NEED to find some time to get out and enjoy life. It goes by way too fast.

Phaxxton
Jun. 2, 2011, 02:05 PM
I guess I don't feel there is a "trap." I loved my biglaw experience, had a great time, nothing like being on a small trial team winning a interesting, multi-billion-dollar antitrust case. That's pretty much as fun as any course I've ever jumped and even at its worst was no more grueling than some of my working student times.

There are no secrets about biglaw, if you don't want to do it you don't have to -- but don't categorically knock it either. I spent 5 years there and now have the ideal lawyer job, part-time General Counsel for a former biglaw client. The biglaw job put me in a position to have my own farm and make a good living working 2 days a week. It is not a life sentence nor is it total misery. Just do your best to enjoy the good parts (recruiting lunches! nice hotels! settlement parties!), avoid the golden handcuffs and it can be a great experience. I only left because I had a kid and that doesn't work well with biglaw.

I never sat around doing face time either. My work and billable hours spoke for themselves, no need to be seen if you are performing.


But you clearly fall into the category of people who really, truly like the practice of law. Many people do not, but feel it would be dumb to turn down a Big Law opportunity. I can't speak for the poster you quoted, but the trap for me, anyway, is feeling like you are expected to do something you don't like just b/c it's prestigious and pays well. I don't think law school or law firms are a trap in and of themselves... but the practice of law felt like a jail sentence to me before I left. It isn't a flaw with the legal profession. The legal profession is what it is. It was a bad fit -- and one I just didn't see coming when I was applying to law school.

Plenty of people LOVE practicing law. Many don't. It's about figuring out the best, most fulfilling path for your life, preferably without wasting 6 or more years doing something that you feel you HAVE to do instead of what you WANT to do. (Holy ungrammatical grammar, Batman!)

I won't tell anyone not to go to law school. I WILL tell people to think long and hard about a very expensive, stressful, and time-consuming process. Having spoken to dozens and dozens of BigLaw veterans (and being one myself), I know there is a large contigent of people like myself who felt unfulfilled, stretched thin, and utterly consumed by spending 70+ hours per week doing something they just really didn't like. There are others who thrived on it and really enjoyed the entire experience.

I'm not anti-Big Law or anti-law school AT ALL. I'm just pro-following your dreams and not getting sucked into something you really don't like. I know I'm not the first and won't be the last person who felt pressured into going to law school by family and others... so I think my experience is just as valid to share as the experiences of people who truly love it. :yes:

fordtraktor
Jun. 2, 2011, 02:18 PM
I agree, Phaxxton, there are many unhappy associates in biglaw who came because they felt they had to and get stuck because they get too used to the $$ to leave. Their (and your) experience is just as valid, I just wanted to give something other than a "biglaw SUX!" perspective. I said not to categorically knock it, not to not knock it at all!

I do think a lot of it has to do with your co-workers. I had a great team and enjoyed working with them, even if I didn't always enjoy working. That makes a huge difference.

I actually do tell people not to go to law school unless they have spent time exposed to people doing whatever kind of law they hope to do, and will be able to afford to do coming out of law school. Law school as the default option for someone with a liberal arts degree and no other plan is not a good decision. And if someone does choose to go down that road, first priority should be paying off the loans, so if they end up hating it they can do something different -- which is how I think a lot of unhappy law students end up in biglaw. As a way to get out faster.

That's not illogical if you need to get out from under your loans fast. Better to have a couple of unhappy years and get out than to be stuck forever in a lesser-paying law job if you don't like the law -- which is very understandable, it is not for everyone. Then you can get back to following your dreams and put the whole law experience behind you.

forward ride
Jun. 2, 2011, 02:19 PM
Ok, I'll chime in. I am now a 5th year lawyer. Riding was much easier (and more flexible) during law school. Like everyone else has been saying, you literally cannot study for 24 hours a day. Other law students will go to the gym or whatever, riding was my "gym". As a 1L, I think I was just doing lessons, maybe once a week or so. But I had friends who has horses, so I would ride those as well. As a 2L, I started leasing a horse and riding at least 3x a week, which continued through 3L. I didn't have the budget to show big time (or the horse), but I did do local one or two day shows.

The best part was that I could ride in the middle of the day on a weekday (or whenever I wasn't in class). I was very good about attending class, not so good about reading every single page assigned. (Plus, you learn ways to "summarize" that reading...)

Now, with work, I am stuck riding in 7:30 am lessons on weekdays and basically never ride in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. There's little to no flexibility, but I was lucky enough to get a job with a small firm so there's much less of the big firm mental-game mentality.

I will say, I did moot court, not law review. I managed to get on a team that included a free trip to Europe for the competition. Not too shabby. We had practice in the evenings, so I often was at campus very late. I don't recall that hindering my 3x a week riding, but I wasn't gearing a horse up for competition or anything, so I was riding with a different mentality also.

I think it's really what you make of it. If you want there to be time, there will be. Regardless of whether you want to do law review or moot court or go shopping.

amt813
Jun. 2, 2011, 03:08 PM
Another lawyer who had a heck of a lot more time to ride in law school than now - especially my 2L and 3L years. I did law review and coummuted quite a distance to school and still had time to ride and study. After my first year I tried to schedule my classes on as few days as possible - by my 3L year I was only going to school 2 days a week.

This is my third year working as an attorney - I work as in house counsel for a corporation so my hours aren't terrible but I don't have the flexibility that I did in law school.

KBEquine
Jun. 2, 2011, 03:17 PM
I actually started to ride as an adult - halfway through law school. I showed only a little & only locally. And bought my first horse as my "I passed the bar!" present to myself.

kenyarider
Jun. 2, 2011, 03:43 PM
Hey fitting in barn time can't be any worse than dealing with two children under the age of four, a husband who travelled 3 weeks per month and an hour commute to law school each way. Besides it will remind you that there is more to life than your class ranking if you have horses. Good luck and remember, that class ranking only gets you your first job, after that it means very little.

Monste
Jun. 2, 2011, 04:24 PM
I'm going into my 3rd year of law school. I'm currently a law clerk at a small family law firm, which I enjoy, and I would never want to do the Big Law track, but I knew that coming in (my parents are both lawyers).

That being said I rode through the first year and a half on leased horses at a farm about 20 minutes away from campus. It was great and important to me. I also did not take law school that seriously because after 1st semester I realized I hated it and had made a huge mistake.

Now I spend every day thinking about how I just need to finish to get the degree and totally re-evaluate my life. The best advice I can possibly give about law school is make sure you want to be there before you set foot in the door or write a check to the institution of your choice.

But without horses I would probably be even nuttier then I am now. Oh, add to this that without friends outside of law school you will tear your hair out with all of the 1st year Torts jokes or adverse possession jokes and the barn is the best place to find those friends!! So, you make the time, you make it work, and I can't recommend it enough, horses are a great compliment to law school. I still had plenty of free time to DO my law school work I just chose not to because I hated it, don't do that.

Also, law review is overrated and will make you crazy, unless you really have student loans to pay back and need 6 figures a year right out of school, then do it, not many firms are hiring these days.

Mozart
Jun. 2, 2011, 04:54 PM
I graduated from law school in 1989. I would have had time to ride had the money been there but it was not. I rode a bit here and there, just for friends that were going away and wanted someone to keep their horses going while they were gone.

When I wasn't studying I was working at my part time job (paid my own tuition, books and expenses) and managed to get out with minimal student loan.

If I had not been working I believe I would have had time to ride. Articling and the first few years as a young lawyer are far more time consuming; if you can find the time and money to ride and maybe show a bit I say go for it. It is good to get away from other law students to maintain your perspective on life!

Phaxxton
Jun. 2, 2011, 07:05 PM
Also, law review is overrated and will make you crazy, unless you really have student loans to pay back and need 6 figures a year right out of school, then do it, not many firms are hiring these days.

Overrated in terms of actual experience, yes. Overrated in terms of being able to get a job (and that's any job these days in this legal market), no. Law Review was, for me, completely inane and I hated it. However, I would never, ever, ever advise anyone to turn down a journal opportunity - certainly not in this job market. You need every advantage in a good market, certainly in this one.

GotSpots
Jun. 2, 2011, 08:23 PM
Most folks have hit the high points on balancing riding and law school - I didn't do much my first year but rode 3-5 times a week 2L and 3L years (and during my clerkship). Even as an associate at BigLaw, I usually managed to ride at least twice and sometimes five times a week, depending on my schedule/travel/hearings/etc.

But I would hugely underscore the advice by several above about knowing what you are getting into. The NALP rankings for the class of 2010 make clear that it is harder and harder for graduating lawyers to find full time employment that requires a bar admission, and the number of jobs available that make paying your law school loans possible are shrinking. BigLaw is dramatically downsizing its associate classes or kicking associates to the curb far earlier in their careers, and even government or inhouse jobs are not the sweet landing spot they used to be. The blog Abovethelaw.com has some pretty decent collections of data on how hard the job market is (just read past the snarkfests), as does NALP, and I strongly encourage you to take a look at it.

I can't say don't do it - being a lawyer is great in general: interesting and challenging work; getting to work with super smart, fun, passionate people; opportunities for economic comfort; chances to do work that matters in the world, etc. It works out great for a lot of people. But there are lots for whom it doesn't, or who never got a job out of law school and who are six figures in debt with little opportunity to pay it off. Caveat emptor, and so forth.

SullyNYC
Jun. 3, 2011, 08:15 AM
First off - congrats to the OP on getting in and starting law school. Hopefully you can take some time off this summer and enjoy yourself so you can show up to school relaxed and happy.

What everyone else has already said is true - you will definitely have time to ride and show, but will probably want to scale back and definitely not show at all for the last couple weeks of each semester (particularly 1L year). 2L and 3L you can always choose classes that have paper requirements rather than a final exam so you can have even more flexibility with your schedule.

Re. the job market, Biglaw and setting yourself up for the best jobs - people are right when they say it is HARD out there. I graduated from a v good school in 2010 with high honors, had a nice/prestigious fellowship throughout school, and am still waiting for my Biglaw job to start. I was deferred for this past year. That's something to be wary of - yes, I'm very lucky to have the job and salary starting soon, but the market is completely oversaturated and ALL law jobs, not just those 6-figure ones almost everyone wants after graduation, are much harder to come by. Public interest organizations are stuffed with people (like me, sorry everyone) that are willing to work for free to do some good and get the experience while deferred from law firms. Clerkships, particularly federal, are even more competitive than usual. Based on all of that, I would advise you to have a pretty clear goal/understanding of what you want and work towards that all 3 years. Make your 1L grades as good as they can be, while still giving yourself time to ride almost every day and one day off from studying per week. Buckle down and do the writing competition for law review, etc. Try out for moot court. Then, 2L and 3L try and find a niche if there's a niche for you. And keep riding :)

You might not have much time to ride when studying for the bar (particularly in the last few weeks), but try and squeeze it in for sanity time. Or at least go for a run every day!

Oh - last thing - one great thing about being deferred for a year is it has given me time to find an awesome barn that I love, and ride again, so hopefully when starting at my firm this fall I will be able to at least keep up Saturday lessons.

Good luck OP! Let us know how it all goes for you...

kenyarider
Jun. 3, 2011, 08:21 PM
Riding can't be worse than having 2 children under 5, a husband who travelled to Europe 2 weeks out of the month, and an hour commute, so go for it. Ride! Law school is the price you pay for your license, and so long as you do reasonably well and pass the bar, much of what happens in law school will only get you that first job - after that, you prove how good a lawyer you are and the jobs will come, so ride and enjoy an outside life. I am amazed at how many lawyers there are on this forum. Didn't know we were so many riding lawyers. :)

mepkkg
Jun. 3, 2011, 09:09 PM
I'm glad I found this thread. I'm a little ways off from applying to law school (currently a junior in college) but it is very interesting to see how many COTH'ers are lawyers and how many of you continued to ride during law school. I've had quite a few people warn me about the current job market and how saturated it is but hopefully in 5+ years it looks a little less bleak..

Thanks for all the great advice! I'd never heard of law review or moot court until now but it makes sense to take every opportunity you can to build your resume, especially right now.

vxf111
Jun. 4, 2011, 07:16 AM
Depends on how you are with time management and how much you need to study to succeed. I found I had plenty of time to ride 6 days/week, some days multiple horses. I didn't show frequently due to not having a particularly fancy horse/lack of money/lack of interest but I could have without much of a time crunch. I had more time as a law student as compared to being a first year lawyer at a big law firm ;) but I rode 6 days/week then too. It all depends of how prioritize and how well you manage your time. If you want it bad enough and you're savvy, you'll find a way to make it work.

Backstage
Jun. 4, 2011, 10:08 AM
I agree with most of the previous posters, riding three times a week (or more) should not be a problem at all. That said, I think the real answer will depend on your goals and how strong you are academically. Getting by in law school is not hard for most. Doing well (and that should be your goal) may or may not take some effort. If we're being honest, some people simply find it easier than others. Personally, my undergrad was a lot more time intensive than law school, so I found law school allowed for a lot of free time. Unfortunately, I didn't use that extra free time to ride. I'd leased my horse out, moved away from home (and the barn), had inconsistent access to a car and was trying keep my student debt reasonable. I would, however, have had time to ride most days, except for during crunch time (aka finals).



But you clearly fall into the category of people who really, truly like the practice of law. Many people do not, but feel it would be dumb to turn down a Big Law opportunity. I can't speak for the poster you quoted, but the trap for me, anyway, is feeling like you are expected to do something you don't like just b/c it's prestigious and pays well. I don't think law school or law firms are a trap in and of themselves... but the practice of law felt like a jail sentence to me before I left. It isn't a flaw with the legal profession. The legal profession is what it is. It was a bad fit -- and one I just didn't see coming when I was applying to law school.

I definitely agree with the above. I think its very important to have a realistic view of what lawyers actually do. Its not enough to like the law, you have to like the practice of law. I happen to like it quite a bit, though its not without its issues, but many of the lawyers I know, do not.

equest
Jun. 9, 2011, 09:52 AM
Best advice I can give to the OP is:
law students will try to get you to study 16 hours a day. They will compete with you to see who can martyr themselves to law school even more than everybody else.
Then when you get to work, it is the same thing all over again. Who was in the office the latest, who can work more holidays, who can sit at the conference table and beat their chest about being in the office until 2am on Thanksgiving, blah blah blah blah BLAH.

It is categorically
a.) not worth it
b.) unecessary in the grand scheme of things.

Please do not fall into the trap.


What she said.

I'm at a boutique firm which requires an unreachable billable requirement, that no one in my department is able to meet during this economy (unless they're BSing their hours).

6 year associate here, and I am still slave to my student loans (I haven't gotten nearly as far ahead with them as I would have liked). I do not drive an attorney vehicle, I shop at Marshalls instead of Nordstrom, I half lease a horse and do not show because of the high price of even local showing in my area.

If you do even the most basic research on Google, you will find that law school no longer guarantees a great BigLaw job for even the most successful grads. It's generally a losing proposition all around. What you will have is over $100,000 in student loan debt (that added to whatever you had from undergrad, of course).

There's also a high a-hole ratio at most firms. Lots of egos and arrogance.

Think long and hard....

But if you're going to law school regardless, are you able to afford to ride without incurring more debt that you're going to have to pay off? If your folks are paying for law school that is wonderful. But if loans are... well, there is a saying about living like a lawyer in law school means you will live like a law student after law school.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Jun. 9, 2011, 10:08 AM
I graduated from law school in 2004. During school I started riding in lessons for the first time, so I didn't have my own horse yet. Riding once a week was a great stress relief. I was way too poor to own a horse, much less show one.

My second year I got a job in a defense litigation firm that required me to put in 20 billable hours a week (so that means you end up working more than 20 hours). My grades suffered a smidge.

I think it is possible, but I don't know if that would have been true for me, newly married, with a large part-time job and gpa requirements to keep my scholarship.

FYI, I need sleep. I do not function on 5 hours like some do. I approached law school as a 9-5 job and it worked out really well. I loved my study group to a point, but you have to REALLY be on guard for time-wasters. These are the people who get distracted every 5 minutes, taking you with them down their path of procrastination, and then cram all-night long, last minute before an exam.

If you listen to nothing I say, what I say next is the most important thing I learned....Do not discount the importance of socializing with the right people, taking the right internship or externship, etc. Out of my core group of 7 friends (8 if you count me) only 2 found jobs from putting out applications. The other 6 found jobs based on knowing someone or knowing someone who knows someone!! The job market is BRUTAL or at least it was when I graduated.

Edited to add that once I graduated and was practicing law I was a grunt and had absolutely no time for riding much less showing. Since I am not annonymous I can't really say more about my firm experiences. I left after 4 years to join the family business, but I do still have one state license (let the other lapse).

One more thing and then I will shut up. Student loan debt is brutal. I look at friends with student loans and it is like having a second mortgage that lasts forever--really a strain. And salaries are very missrepresented, imo. Unless you are in an area that is going to get you a BigLaw job then don't count on six figures coming out of school.

allicolls Aefvue Farms Deep South
Jun. 9, 2011, 12:11 PM
Ride! Show! Law school is the most free time you'll have for the rest of your career. Enjoy it! Go to class, study all day for the couple weeks of finals, and ride when you can. You should be able to structure your schedule pretty well your 2L and 3L years - maybe schedule as many classes as possible on Monday (a probable rest day for your horse if you showed that weekend), and make sure you have a block of time to devote to Law Review, clinic, etc. I had tons of free time my 3L year that I basically used to work out and watch hours of TV when I could have found a barn nearby and gotten back in the saddle. Now that I have very little free time, I wish I'd taken advantage of the less demanding schedule of law school.

LoveJubal
Jun. 10, 2011, 12:00 AM
Ride... It will keep you sane - Just make time to study a LOT!

By the way, the first year sucks pretty bad and the other two years are do-able, but they suck too. Then, studying for the Bar Exam all summer sucks even worse. I would wager that you would not be doing any showing over that summer at all.

I would know ;) I graduated from law school last year and passed the Virginia Bar last summer.

Good Luck in law school! Definitely ride - it will get you away from all the other people that are having a mental breakdown :lol:

TarheelJD
Jun. 10, 2011, 01:02 PM
Then, studying for the Bar Exam all summer sucks even worse. I would wager that you would not be doing any showing over that summer at all.

In my experience, and I think pretty much all of my friends had the same, you will have plenty of time to do stuff until the July 4th holiday festivites end, then you will panic and do nothing but study and sleep for the next 3 weeks.

bambam
Jun. 10, 2011, 01:45 PM
In my experience, and I think pretty much all of my friends had the same, you will have plenty of time to do stuff until the July 4th holiday festivites end, then you will panic and do nothing but study and sleep for the next 3 weeks.

bwahahahaha :lol::lol::lol:
so true

ElusiveReward
Jun. 10, 2011, 01:50 PM
I just wanted to chime in here and thank the OP for starting this thread. I will be a 1L this fall and am facing a long commute and stressing about the time I'll have for riding!
Thank you all for your wonderful advice!

Prima Donna
Jun. 10, 2011, 10:55 PM
Can it be done? I will be starting law school next fall and I want to know from the lawyers on board if riding and showing can still be done during these grueling 3 years. I'm talking riding maybe three times a week and showing once or twice every couple of months. All I have to go on right now are the "horror" stories from others about how they pretty much ate, slept, studied and went to class, with no time for other activities. How did you do it?

It can be done but make sure that you prioritize correctly.

I worked about 20 hours per week all through law school to defray costs (i.e. loans). This allowed me to pick a job that I liked coming out of law school and not worrying about having to make enough to pay huge amounts of loans.

Don't put moot court or Law Review (or another journal) aside because of riding. Riding will always be there and opportunities to make yourself marketable will not be. Especially in the market right now.

But, you do need some kind of stress relief.

Studying shouldn't take 12 hours a day. After spending the first few weeks in the library, I realized that

1) most law students are crazy

2) most people aren't really studying that whole time (online shopping, coffee breaks, bragging about how much they study)

3) I was much more efficient when I had a schedule and I would finish my work for the day before riding.

Except for finals time, law school isn't that stressful. It is about managing your time more than anything else. And about not getting drawn into the hype of how tough it is supposed to be.

Riding also kept me sane while studying for the bar exam but you have 3 years before you have to think about that :)

Disclaimer: I didn't go to a T14 school so that may be a whole different beast.

Frivian
Jun. 24, 2011, 01:11 PM
I know I'm a little late to this thread, but I just read through the whole thing. I'm not in law school (nor do I ever hope to be) but my fiance just finished his 2L year. He is currently working as a summer associate at a big firm and hoping to work there after graduation. After reading through all this, though, I'm really nervous about it! We are doing a long distance thing for law school, so things will probably be a lot easier once we're in the same city, but man it already seems like he has no time. Please tell me it won't be as bad as you're all making it sound once he's practicing... :(

fordtraktor
Jun. 24, 2011, 01:22 PM
Sorry Frivian, it is that bad. You will need to be very flexible and understanding if you want it to work. He can't help it when he'll have to cancel plans and work way into the night at the drop of a hat -- it's just the reality of his job. Don't hold it against him and you'll be OK, though.

If you need a lot of attention relationship-wise and hate men who can't commit firmly to plans, dating an attorney is not a good idea! There is nothing wrong with being any of those things, they are just not compatible with a LTR with a biglaw employee.

Frivian
Jun. 24, 2011, 02:14 PM
I'm pretty independent and flexible. I'm really not worried about our relationship working out/not working out. I know we'll be fine. I guess I just didn't realize that it would be so much worse AFTER law school! Geez. He seems to already be working all the time. At least I know what to prepare for now. And of course I have my horse to keep me busy while he's busy :).

I know this isn't really horse related, so maybe I should save the rest of my discussion for OT day. But this thread has been very informative!

TarheelJD
Jun. 24, 2011, 02:17 PM
Sorry Frivian, it is that bad. You will need to be very flexible and understanding if you want it to work. He can't help it when he'll have to cancel plans and work way into the night at the drop of a hat -- it's just the reality of his job. Don't hold it against him and you'll be OK, though.

If you need a lot of attention relationship-wise and hate men who can't commit firmly to plans, dating an attorney is not a good idea! There is nothing wrong with being any of those things, they are just not compatible with a LTR with a biglaw employee.

Ditto. Sorry, Frivian. The first few years of practice have a vertical learning curve, and you are at everyone's beck and call. Everyone likes to bust on BigLaw, but I had friends at much smaller firms who worked harder/longer hours than I did as a junior associate because their firms didn't have enough young lawyers to staff up emergencies and rush projects as well.

If I had a dollar for every time I had to cancel plans as a junior associate, I could have built myself an indoor to make winter riding more bearable. :D

Madison
Jun. 24, 2011, 02:54 PM
I did not ride in law school -- but in retrospect I wish I had. I think it would have been doable, especially as a 3L.

I stopped riding my freshman year in college, and did not pick it up again until I was out of law school for about 8 years. As many have said, I had more free time in law school than I did as a junior associate.

If you think you want to go to Big Law after graduation, absolutely do not bypass the opportunity to do law review in order to make time for riding. My firm used to hire 50-60 summer associates a year, now it is less than 10. The market is so competitive that we've turned down applicants that are in the top of their class at T1 schools. All of our 2011 Summers are law review. I doubt we even interviewed anyone who wasn't.

Have a great 3 years in law school -- I did! It's an incredible experience, and I made some of the best friends I will ever have in my life there. As an earlier poster noted, don't let yourself get dragged into the p*ssing contest of who studied more, yada, yada, yada. It will just needlessly mess with your head.


This. I was going to post the same thing, but now I don't have to! In this competitive market, you need something on the resume - Law Review, Moot Court, etc . . . - just to be in the hunt. I'd even consider a joint JD/MBA or something at this point - it only adds a year and I really wish I had done it. But under any circumstances you will absolutely have time to ride and show if you'll have the funding.

My other tip, if you don't need to study in groups, avoid the law library and group studying -- inevitably there are high stress people who will needlessly raise YOUR stress level :lol:

rockonxox
Jun. 24, 2011, 04:53 PM
You can ride and go to Law School... you just have to have time management. Your environment will also vastly depend on where you choose to work. The ADA's where I work have lives and are very nice and happy people. Many with kids, many with other hobbies (no equestrians but they do other activities). If you REALLY want something you will always be able to find a way to do it.

I haven't gone to law school yet but work for the court system and am weighing my options of if it is worth it or not and since I think that I'm guessing it's probably not. My old roomie rides and started law school this year. Stressful? Definitely. Possible? Absolutely.

AliBus
Jun. 25, 2011, 09:00 AM
I approached law school as a 9-5 job and it worked out really well.

***

Edited to add that once I graduated and was practicing law I was a grunt and had absolutely no time for riding much less showing...

I,too, treated law school as if it was a job, and I did very well. I just had to remain focused when I was working. I also had an hour commute each way, where I embraced the law lectures on CDs to make the most of the time spent in the car...

I rode my pony 4-5 days a week, and I could have shown if I had had the $$$...

Now I am in a Big Law job, which I actually like, but it leaves little time for riding. I ride my horse 1-2 times a week on a good week, and I pay a girl to ride him another time per week for me to keep him going...

Good luck with school :)

crazyhorses
Jun. 25, 2011, 05:24 PM
I am SO glad that I read through this. I'm thinking about applying for law school (once all my gen eds are done) and I was really worried about the horse part of things.