View Full Version : Any lawyers who ride?

Apr. 2, 2004, 11:04 AM
I am considering a job change, and one option that keeps popping into my head is to go to law school. Strange, really, because I'm not sure that I even WANT to be a lawyer.

It is hard enough to find enough time to ride and school my horse with my accounting job. Is it possible to have a legal career and time for a horse? I think I am a bit crazy. But as long as I am exploring options, I thought I would ask around.


Apr. 2, 2004, 11:04 AM
I am considering a job change, and one option that keeps popping into my head is to go to law school. Strange, really, because I'm not sure that I even WANT to be a lawyer.

It is hard enough to find enough time to ride and school my horse with my accounting job. Is it possible to have a legal career and time for a horse? I think I am a bit crazy. But as long as I am exploring options, I thought I would ask around.


Apr. 2, 2004, 11:06 AM
It is possible, but can be hard to juggle. I have to rely on my trainer quite a bit to help me out, and there are times I just can't get to the barn. But that's the trade-off for being able to afford the sport at all I think. It also depends on what kind of law job you have - there are all kinds of arrangements available once you have a few years of experience. I even have a friend who doesn't have to work Fridays! Now THAT would be nice!


Apr. 2, 2004, 11:18 AM
You can do it, but you have to strike a balance between getting paid enough to afford your horse habit (and paying back law school loans, if you end up with those) and finding a job where they allow you to have some sort of life. As Madison said, that can be tough until you get a little experience under your belt.

Having a trainer who is willing to be a little flexible will help. Even though I now have an in-house job that isn't as time consuming as my large law firm jobs, my trainer knows that sometimes I will call an hour before a weekday lesson and cancel because I can't get out of work.

Beyond the horse aspect, I strongly urge you to spend some time seeing what lawyers actually do day-to-day before you go down that road. Your state bar association might be able to help you with that if you don't know some personally. There are a lot of unhappy lawyers.

Good luck!

"Years ago, my mother used to say to me, 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -- Elwood P. Dowd

Apr. 2, 2004, 11:20 AM
One of my good friends, who is a lawyer, did not ride until after she made partner and her children were in school. So a hiatus of about 15 years. Now she is riding and showing quite a bit. But she is a super woman! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Tha Ridge
Apr. 2, 2004, 11:21 AM
There's a GREAT Amateur at my barn who is an attorney. She usually rides about twice during the week and both days on weekends. She shows plenty as well.

- L.

It's all about the act right.

Apr. 2, 2004, 11:27 AM
I am not a lawyer, but I play one on tv. Just kidding. I do know a lot of lawyers that have successfully balanced law school/careers and riding - one in particular comes to mind. I won't name her publicly, but she balanced law school and was a member of her state's House of Representatives AND managed to show and win a TON in the Amateur Adult divisions at A shows - AND paid for it all on her own dime - she was a dynamo. It can be done - I know she had a ton of help from her trainers and it was a juggle, but she did it quite well.

Tha Ridge
Apr. 2, 2004, 11:45 AM
Sounds like the one at my barn, Whoa There. She's a GREAT rider and competes successfully in the Amateur-Owners.

- L.

It's all about the act right.

Apr. 2, 2004, 12:02 PM
I just finished law school last year, but don't think I really want to become a lawyer. I haven't even taken the bar yet. I have watched the friends that I went to school with and how their lives are developing and just don't want to go down that road. They fall into two camps- the ones that joined a big firm, make great money, and have NO free time and the ones that joined a small practice, have more flexible jobs, and make less money than I make working 20 hours/ week (and a lot of stress).
If riding is a very important part of your life, I would think hard about how you will manage to continue once you have become an attorney. (You will have enough time to continue riding in law school.) I know that if I were a lawyer right now I wouldn't have the time to sit up foal watching every night like I have been doing for the past several weeks. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif
That being said, I have found law school to be very helpful to me in my horsey pursuits. I used my knowledge in recently buying a farm, in negotiating various contracts, and in countless other ways. As one who has been there recently, feel free to PT me if I can answer any questions for you. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Apr. 2, 2004, 12:28 PM
Don't go to law school because you don't know what else to do with your life. Do go because you want the education, and/or because you want to work as an attorney. There are lots and lots of things you can do with a law degree, from business to big firm life, to public defense, to consulting. Most of these are incredibly rewarding practice areas. However, many of them, although they can pay well, require a trade off in terms of time. Being a lawyer is a client-service profession: you are there whenever, wherever your clients need you. Which means that occasionally you have to cancel a horse show, reschedule a lesson, or have someone else meet the farrier.

I ride competitively (I own an upper level eventer), and I also regularly take lessons with an A circuit H/J trainer. I also work very, very hard. The trick is to be smart about balancing your time, to be reliable so that both your colleagues and your clients know where they can reach you if you are out of the office, and to be flexible. You can do it, but you have to be sensible about it. The upside is an extremely rewarding professional practice, coupled with opportunities to ride and do some of the things that I find personally fulfilling. The downside is that you have to make choices about what it is you want to do and how to make those things happen.

Apr. 2, 2004, 12:46 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by GotSpots:
Which means that occasionally you have to cancel a horse show, reschedule a lesson, or have someone else meet the farrier. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

LOL - I've never even MET my farrier. I think I've seen him once http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif He comes on weekdays.

On a serious note, GotSpots is dead on. Great (and accurate) post.


Apr. 2, 2004, 12:51 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Don't go to law school because you don't know what else to do with your life. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That is excellent advice. I graduated from law school, but I don't practice. I'm a legal journalist. But the only reason I was able to take this job is because I didn't have to pay back loans. Many of my friends went to law school because they didn't know what else to do. Now they are saddled with debt and jobs that make them miserable. Go to law school if you want to be a lawyer.

As for having time to ride, I found that law school required much more work than college, and I went to a competitive college and worked hard while I was there. In terms of life after school, my job is pretty much 9 to 6 or so, sometimes I have to work late. You'll have that with any profession, I think. My friends who are practicing with large firms really wouldn't have much time to ride were they horse people, I suspect. They work until 8 or 9 p.m. and on Saturdays, usually.

As another poster suggested, spend some time seeing what attorneys do day-to-day and research the profession. The trade off for big bucks is big hours.

Apr. 2, 2004, 01:16 PM
Oh, sure, you'll have lots of time to ride.....AFTER you have worked your ass off for 12-15 years working 80 hour weeks and have banked enough money to lay back a bit and have a life. The first 12 years I practiced law I didn't have time to do ANYTHING but practice law.

Sonesta Farms (http://www.sonestafarms.com) - breeding Hanoverian, Knabstrupper and Arabian sport horses.&lt;BR&gt;
"Find something you love & call it work."

Apr. 2, 2004, 01:55 PM
I did the 80 hour week thing for 10 years before going in-house with a client and opting for the "sane" life.

Yeah, I could've had 3 or 4 horses with the salary I was making (mega Washington DC lawfirm), but I would never have had time to see even one of them.

That said, I love my current job and I love the practice of law, but it is not a career to be entered into lightly given the expense of the education and the demands of the profession in the first 7-10 years or so.

A person is prohibited to eat until he first feeds his animals.
- Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 40a

Lord Helpus
Apr. 2, 2004, 02:16 PM
I owned a horse after law school. He was ridden by the trainer and went off to a lot more shows that I could get to.

After 3 years of law school (the first year is the worst, so maybe you could ride 3 - 4 times a week in years two and three), then you take the bar and if you are lucky enough to pass it and get a decent paying job, there goes your time.

An attorney out of law school is like a MD fresh out of med school. It is the associates in a law firm who work the billable hours so that the partners can earn mid six figure salaries.

At the law firm I worked at, we were expected to bill a minimum of 2000 hours a year. If you wanted to have a hope of making partner, you had to bill over 2500 hours.

Just think -- 2000 hours = 40 hours a week x 50 weeks a year. Not bad, you say? Well, that is BILLABLE hours. I figured that it took me almost 2 hours to bill one. Meeting with partners, lunch, holidays, Dr appts, etc were not billable. I worked about 60 - 80 hours a week to bill 2400 hours a year.

I never enjoyed holidays. Because they did not mean a day off; they meant that I would have to squeeze my billable hours into the other days of that week. So I usually worked at least a half day (6 hours) on a holiday. I even went in on Christmas one year because I had a trial coming up right after New Years.

--- A person gives up one helluva lot to become an attorney. Law firms do not pay you, they own you. A friend of mine had her sister move in with her. Not out of sibling love, but because she needed someone to grocery shop, go to the dry cleaners, take the dog to the vet, ect. In other words, she needed a wife . http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif It was the only way she could work enough hours to stay on the partnership track.

This is why I am no longer an attorney. I wanted to have a life.

You say that you won't get a legal job like that? Ok, there are other jobs out there. But the AVERAGE PAY for attorneys who are less than 5 years out of law school [used to be] under $40k/year. And that takes into account all those big firm young associates earning $75k/year. Which comes out to be $25/hour BEFORE taxes. And that is the high end.

You really should want to be a lawyer before spending $60k on law school.

"Oh yeah, I'll bet you're fat and can't ride!" --- Erin, Chief Cathearder. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Apr. 2, 2004, 02:32 PM
...before spending 60k on law school... I Wish I was only spending 60k on law school!! More like 80-90k. You will have time to ride while in school, but believe me, if you are not sure that you even want to become an attorney, you will hate law school. It is hard work and alot of the time you are not even interested in the courses you have to take (like federal income tax for some one interested in criminal law). It takes alot of dedication and if you want to ride afterward, you are limited in your job options due to the hours you are required to work. Think LONG and HARD before making this decision- you dont want to be saddled with debt for a life you dont want.

Apr. 2, 2004, 02:45 PM
Mr. WL is an attorney, and let me tell you, LHU and others who speak of the 80 hour weeks and lack of days off are SPOT ON for those working in big firms. She isn't kidding when she says "They own you." They do. When we first started dating, I wondered why he worked so much and so hard... turns out that when you take out loans to get your way through law school, you have no choice but to work the big-firm jobs with the big-firm hours to pay off those big, big loans.

I can't tell you how many holidays, weekends and vacations have been ruined at the very last minute thanks to the clients/partners Mr. WL works for. Nevermind dinner plans on a Thurs or Fri night. It is a hard life, and it is really hard on the spouses/partners of big-firm lawyers as well.

That said, I am planning to go to law school in fall of 2005. Not because I want to be a big-firm lawyer and make tons of money, but because Mr. WL already does that, I feel like one of us should help those not so fortunate. I want to work in child advocacy as it pertains to the foster care system. Seems like the best way I can help is as an attorney. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

~formerly Master Tally~

Apr. 2, 2004, 03:40 PM
As a newly-minted lawyer (currently clerking for a judge, but soon to be entering the law firm life), I concur with the others' posts.

I will be working for a smaller firm than those 80-hour-week firms mentioned above and making less than I expected, but plan to make up for it with some semblance of a personal life. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Still, no matter what size of firm you join, the practice of law is a pretty all-consuming profession compared to other career choices. And you can forget about much riding or horse ownership during law school unless you have plenty of money or don't mind adding to your $80,000+ post law school debt. Think long and hard before you decide...

Apr. 2, 2004, 03:52 PM
Cross post from my comment in the Dressage forum:

Paralegal here who is moving on to law school at midlife. I love what I do, enough that I'd rather be on the other side of the bar with my own cases. I worked hard getting a paralegal degree with long hours in the law library and writing all through the night. I can't imagine going to law school half heartedly.

I am fortunate to work for lawyers who value a blanced life more than material possessions -though they do very well. We primarily do family law. In my firm, the lawyers are passionate about golf as well as skiing and are scheduled out frequently for tournaments. (Thus, they are understanding when I need a show day off. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif) Other lawyers I've worked for work 6 days every week and frequently work very late.

As an option, being a paralegal is great and I think it's a rewarding profession. However, you don't earn as much as a lawyer and are at the mercy of someone's ability to manage their time well and at the mercy of the number of cases they take in. Paralegals often very long weeks too.

Good luck in your search. Mine landed me in law after being a senior exec for a department store corp. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/dead.gif Now that's how not to have a life!

Edited to ad that I have a great trainer or I couldn't do it even now. Even as a paralegal I cancel some lessons etc. because of the needs of a case. I am held to billables too.

[This message was edited by saltare on Apr. 02, 2004 at 06:08 PM.]

Apr. 2, 2004, 04:12 PM
Any person considering whether to become an attorney should:

a) lurk on the greedy associates boards for a few weeks. Go to http://www.infirmation.com/bboard/clubs-top.tcl.

b) keep in mind that there are a lot more people with law degrees than attorney positions right now (though this may change 3 years from now). Being an indentured servant to a law firm because of your student debt is frustrating and depressing, but far worse is rackign up that debt, and then NOT being able to find a job. I've seen it happen to friends -- good people too, with degrees from excellent law schools, and definitely not slackers.

c) understand that if you work for a "biglaw" firm in NYC or DC, it's fairly certain that you will not be riding regularly for the first 2-3 years.

With little notice, you will be shipped off to various parts of the country for weeks on end to perform due diligence or work on a document review. It's the nature of the job, and no matter how dedicated you are, you can't ride if you're a thousand miles from your horse.

You will be placed on emergency matters that require your near constant presence in the office (most likely researching one issue after another, or more document review/due diligence).

In compensation, you will be making enough to support yourself, your student debt, the horse that you rarely see, and the tons of carrots you will be buying out of guilt to stuff into horse-you-rarely-see. [further disclosure -- if you have student debt, you will be able to afford a horse and your debt, but you most likely will not be able to swing the purchase price on a made, fancy A/O horse without help via family or lottery].

After your first few years, it will get slightly better. From what I understand, it's also ever so slightly better in Chicago, Texas, Atlanta, Boston, etc, though still quite hard. You can also go to a smaller firm or the government, but you probably won't be able to both afford a horse and service your debt.

So, if you're looking for a career that will allow you to buy and show a nice horse several years down the road (i.e. after you've paid your debt, bought your house, and jumped the biglaw ship for a nice in-house position) then law is an option. But please don't go to law school with the belief that after graduation, you'll buy and show a fancy A/O horse while working at Skadden/Covington/Wachtel/firm of choice.

C. Biederman
Apr. 2, 2004, 04:14 PM
I second everything that has been said about the job being incredibly demanding, and there being very, very few alternatives that pay the kind of money it takes to keep horses on the road.

I did the big firm thing when I was a baby lawyer; lots of hours, and though I liked the work (most of it, anyway) I HATED the dogpack/corporate mindset that governs those places. Then I went to the federal government; the hours were (slightly) better, but perversely, the job far less flexible (you have to be AT THE DESK and accountable during those all-important government hours; available-by-phone doesn't cut it, and until you've been there for several years, you get very little vacation to be used for things like horse showing.)

Then I left for awhile and did something else, which was loads of fun, but didn't pay NEARLY well enough. So, two years ago, I went back to the federal government (federal prosecutor's office) to help pay for my (and my daughter's) EXPENSIVE horse-showing habit.

So now I've FINALLY got a good 3'6" horse, and he's going great, and we're chasing points. BUT the problem is that in my part of the world (Texas), the shows are run by people who cater to (in some cases, are married to) professional amateurs and/or the trust fund set, so the AOs ALWAYS go during the week. So, my choices are: (1) Show out-of-state (more expensive, and very stressful to be shuttling back and forth between 5 o'clock Friday and 9 or 10 p.m. Sunday night), or (2) parcel out my leave and do VERY FEW horse shows.

Just this week, I'd saved enough leave to do ONE AA-horse show in state (AOs went Weds. and Thurs.) Problem was, I had to come into the office first for work/annual leave reasons, and then catch a plane (only a 50 minute flite) and try to get to the show grounds by 12:30 or so.

So I get to the office at 5 am, and naturally, there was an emergency/disaster to be taken care of before I could go. So I miss my flight, and the next one is, predicatbly, running late. And then I hit traffic, and...OOPS! Too late; missed the first day of my division AND, WORSE, used precious annual leave to get there, so I only got to do the second day!! And I'm paying for it, too; worked until 9 last night (after I jumped off the horse and dashed to the airport and came straight into the office), and was here at 4:54 this morning. I'll probably have to get back in at the same time tomorrow morning, too, 'cause I'm too tired to finish what I have to get finished by noon tomorrow.

Damned if I can figure out the answer--and, Tha Ridge, that amateur at your barn doesn't have it either. We commiserate sometimes at shows, and she says her partners really put the kabosh on her horse-showing a year or so back, after a year where she took a lot of time off to horse-show to even GET her greenie to the AO ring. Last year, she was only able to do a handful of shows--far less than it takes to do something like try to qualify one for indoors.

But hope springs eternal. I buy lottery tickets!!!.


Apr. 2, 2004, 04:23 PM
http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif That masters in conflict resolution is looking better and better.

Apr. 2, 2004, 06:57 PM
Thank you all for your input. You have confirmed my basic feelings. Some parts might be interesting, but I don't want to do anything with a law degree enough to go to law school and pay the bills later. It may be in my distant future, but for now I am much better off broadening my accounting experience.

I am a recently certified CPA, currently working in the tax department of a public utility. I think that it is time to explore some other options. Maybe transferring to a different area of accounting, maybe look into a smaller local CPA firm. We'll see.


Apr. 2, 2004, 07:23 PM
Good luck - I think you are right to explore options in your current profession before taking on the commitments that a switch to the legal field would require. To get the high-end salaries, you almost always have to go the big-firm route, which means less flexibility in the early years. You have to prove you are "committed". It was several years into my practice before I took up riding again, and even now it requires some real juggling. Quite often, to ride during the week means staying up to finish more work after I get home from the barn. It can be done, but it requires a lot of planning, a lot of being willing to undo plans when necessary, and regular exhaustion http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif


Apr. 2, 2004, 07:42 PM
I'm one of those lawyers who ride. I have an aging jumper, a very young/green hunter doing the pre-greens. With some help from my trainer, I'm doing him myself in the a/a AND the pre-greens (when I can show during the week). I ride 4-5x per week, and when I'm not at the barn, I'm at the office (trial lawyer at one of those big firms). There have been times where I have literally worked all weekend one weekend so that I could show the next, or if I wake up in the middle of the night, I'll just go to the office to get a jump on things. I have a nice house, a tow vehicle and a car, but I don't take vacations (except at horse shows), don't buy a lot of clothes, don't have a significant other or children, and make very deliberate choices about how I spend my time. I now have 2 horses, 2 dogs, 2 cars, a trailer, a house, and not quite enough time to watch HBO.

I've been known to pay the neighborhood kids to sit at my house and wait for the plumber, I rarely see the farrier or vet out at the barn, I board at a barn that does all the turn-out. BUT, I do my own hauling and care/braiding at the shows because I really want to. Next month, during a show in town, I'm putting my hunter in full care so that I can entertain clients on the Saturday night during the show -- fortunately, that's an option with my trainer.

I did work like a dog the first 7-8 years of practice (I'm in year 16 now), last year I missed 3 shows (and lost entries) because I was in trial. I have more flexibility as a partner with my own practice, but I probably work more hours in total with the non-billable stuff I need to do to grow my practice.

It's a tough way to make a living, but it does have some element of prestige, it pays pretty darn well (I do NOT have a trust), allows me tremendous independence, and, ultimately, I am doing what I want when I'm not working. I could not do what I"m doing with a family, though. I have a saying: "Women CAN have it all -- they just can't have it all at once."

I've made certain choices (like not dating at the moment) in order to work on my new greenie. My choices, my money.

It works for me, but it's a lot to juggle.

Apr. 2, 2004, 08:20 PM
I am in law school now, and I definately say DON'T go to law school UNLESS you REALLY want to! I must admit I went to law school because I was pretty much screwed when I graduated from college. I went to a great school, had good grades and did well on the LSAT so I said "what the he!!" I graduated in 2002...9/11 happened during my senior year and the job market was pretty much non-existant. My best friend had a job with one of the big name accounting firms in NYC which magically disappeared...and she was not the only one, it was pretty much the trend.

Now that I am a 2nd year (aka 2L)...I really do like law school and I am excited (as excited as one can be) about becoming a lawyer. If I had it to do all over again I would have taken some time to work between college and law school to get some of that "worldy" knowledge the working class has. I am not looking forward to working 80 hours a week and I really hope I never do. As much as my loans are going to be a pain...I hope to find a medium size firm who will hire me.

I have my horse with me this year at school, there was NO way I could have handled him last year, but I find myself struggling more often than not. I am taking 17 credits this semester and working 15-20 hours a week and my horse is recovering from surgery...I seriously only sleep at my apartment and that is if I am lucky. But my horse is my sanity. Last semester I was dealing with his injury, school and work and my grades were better than my 1st year...so the struggle was/is worth it.

I hope one day I'll be able to really afford to show again...but I definately understand it is going to take a LONG time!!!

Good Luck in whatever you decide! Bottom line is, if you love horses, they will ALWAYS be a part of your life!

proud member of the calendar- CBW FOR LIFE !!


Apr. 2, 2004, 08:38 PM
There is more to this story than the truthtelling that has already been said on the Board. If you really want to ride and show horses, there are a lot of reasons NOT to become a lawyer.

I have autistic spectrum/specific learning disabilities and a cervical injury that really limits the things I am able to do well and competently. Riding is one of them, so is litigating but only "with" certain special accommodations.

I went to law school because I was not receiving any child support from my ex-husband in the days California had no child support enforcement and because I wanted a grand prix jumper someday. I was a single mother through all of my college, my daughter being 4 years old when I started undergrad and 12 when I graduated law school.

By the time I graduated in 1990, I had about $100,000 in student loan debt, and my law school kept telling me I would find this great big firm job and be able to pay it all back.

There were no jobs like that after graduation. I graduated as we headed into a recession, and attorneys with 1-3 years experience were taking all the available paralegal and law clerk positions. I fell into the big black abyss of the gap between law school and licensing. I cocktail waitressed and mail room clerked, whatever I could do to survive -- still not receiving my child support.

I had to fight with the California Bar Examiners for the disability accommodations I needed, failing the first three bar examinations, ending up homeless, with a broken down car I could not afford to fix, evicted four times from the cheapest housing available, starved, and still not receiving my child support -- before I finally got the accommodations to enable me to pass the July 1997 California Bar Examination. I sold my only saddle to pay for it, leaving me unable to earn a living.

By then, my twice previously approved "good moral character" clearance (I also previously had a US Attorneys Office security clearance), was revoked because of the evictions and "too much student loan debt" I was not able to pay. I was STILL not receiving my child support.

I fought for my bar admission in the California State Bar Court, until former California Governor Pete Wilson vetoed the bar fee bill and shut down the entire California State Bar. Having granted me disability accommodations to pass the bar examination, the State Bar Court refused to provide the same for two years, then, when the bar shut down, my case got lost and there was never any recognition of the accommodations Order the Court finally did grant directing that the accommodations be provided from thenceforth.

There is a pretty pompous article in "The Bar Examiner," a publication put out by the National Conference of Bar Examiners for bar examiners (they only tell you about it if you ask), discussing the large student loan debts law students are taking on these days and how bar examiners decide who becomes a lawyer, who becomes a teacher, and who drives a cab.

Now 14 years later (the Aug. 22, 2003 American Bar Association Journal online published my husband's letter to the editor about this), I am STILL fighting for my California bar admission. Chief Justice George says my case is "final," but the United States Supreme Court says it's not. Before long, it will be 15 years. I just received the first of my back child support, only $50 per month was Ordered way back when. My first check was $4. The fight was so long and hard, I ended up parlaying a $950 1/2 Swedish Warmblood large pony I managed to save the money to buy in 1998 into a horse business making more than I ever could hope to make as a lawyer from 1999-2001, until I hired a lawyer to assist me with a legal problem and he destroyed my business. Not having access to dictation accommodations to work a legal position, I fled to Florida where it is not as expensive to live, to be with a friend, who ended up marrying me. He got his Florida bar license a year ago February, and it has been a struggle as his five-year gap between law school and licensing put him in arrears on his child support (HE was ordered to pay some now $300,000 child support when he was a barber PLUS he has about $175,000 in student loans).

It can and did get worse -- I got a traffic ticket for a car accident in which I was not at fault in Largo, Florida, and upon asking for the dictation accommodations to place a motion to dismiss in written format in a Pinellas County Court, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles suspended my driver's license -- I had a previous 10 year clean and safe record without even a parking ticket, and I drove a 6-horse trailer with valuable show horses interstate and over mountains. My license has now been suspended for more than a year.

Now, the Florida Bar Examiners refuse to recognize the accommodations California gave me, and I have been excluded from my attorney license in Florida for more than 2 years. (Even supposing I could practice law when I don't have driving privileges).

I have finally concluded that if you love horses and have the talent to ride and show them, then that is what you should do, and your endeavors will allow your passion to grow into a business. I have also concluded that if you want to ride and show, being a lawyer is way too high a price to pay to get there and you will have no time to ride or show even if you do. (My husband, with me in tow as his law clerk because I have to go everywhere with him due to the driver's license suspension, just finished 5 divorce appeals, working seven days a week, in a highrise in downtown Tampa, with no life, and I was lucky to get to ride my horse late at night under the lights, never seeing the light of day).

I have not given up my fight for my two bar admissions, although I have no way to afford a lawyer to help me with that, and the US Department of Justice referred my driver's licensing complaint to the Department of Transportation, which has given the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles 30 days to explain why I don't have a driver's license.

By the time I can resolve this mess going to law school to be able to afford a grand prix jumper caused me, when with my disabilities I should have just stuck to the horses in the first place, my marriage will probably be irretrievably broken and so will my heart.

At this point I am just searching for another horsey position in the Wellington or North/Central Pinellas County, Florida area from which to try to build back my show business, preferably as the show coach for a pony contingent since I am the right size and my ponies always seemed to win everything in sight.

So, this is another perspective of what can happen if you decide to go to law school. Did I get anything out of it? Well, it HAS made me a good drafter of my own horse contracts, and, even though I am not yet a lawyer anywhere, I have 14 + years State and Federal Court and agency litigation experience (fighting for disability accommodations and with bar examiners and Chief Justices).

Would I do it over again if I knew then what I know now? I think I'd rather be riding and showing.


[This message was edited by CellosPride on Apr. 02, 2004 at 10:46 PM.]

[This message was edited by CellosPride on Apr. 02, 2004 at 10:56 PM.]

[This message was edited by CellosPride on Apr. 02, 2004 at 11:00 PM.]

Dare to Dream
Apr. 2, 2004, 09:18 PM
I am not an attorney, but I am a paralegal. I think after you do your time, depending on the firm you join, you may or may not have time for riding. If you worked at my firm, you would have no life! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif

But, at another firm I worked at, I worked with a woman attorney who rode and showed successfully.

My barn owner is an attorney. She worked in a very large firm and decided to go corporate so she could have more time for her horses.

All I can say is I know how hard it is as a paralegal in a law firm and I have a minimal billing requirement compared to attorneys. EVERY Saturday, you could walk in our office and you would think it was the middle of the week. Every atty is there. Lots of time Sundays too. And I work for a SMALL - MEDIUM sized firm. Size does not always mean less billable hours. And, while a large percentage of cases settle before you make it to trial, when you have one that does, you might as well sign your life away. We spent 2 mos of hard core trial prep (spending nights at the office) to leave our families and lives to literally move to another state for a 2 month long trial.

As several have said, there are tons of places other than a law firm to practice law, but unfortunately, the money is at the firms. At least where I live.

It is definitely a career that will support your sport. But personally, I wouldn't spend that much time in school if I wasn't sure I wanted to practice law. But I hate going to school. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

[This message was edited by Dare to Dream on Apr. 02, 2004 at 11:51 PM.]

[This message was edited by Dare to Dream on Apr. 02, 2004 at 11:59 PM.]

Apr. 2, 2004, 09:20 PM
You have already gotten some pretty good advice here. I am a fifth yr in BIGLAW focusing on m&a and lbo deals and would say that it can be done, being a lawyer and a rider, but it is very difficult. My average work day is 12 hrs, but often times is more than that. I try not to work weekends so that I can show, but this means that I am often working into the wee hours of the morning trying to cram everything into the work week so I can run to the plane Friday afternoon and fly to the shows (I do FL and AAA shows).

I show in the a/o jumpers and lots of shows have classes in the summer that run during the week (and annoyingly, the highs go Thursday, Friday and Saturday in FL which really irritates me), which means my options are very limited when it comes to competing (and my horses are 4+ hours away so I do not really ride between shows). For example, I went to Devon last year and the classes went on Friday and Sat. B/c the Friday class was the first class at 8am, I decided I could swing it, since I could compete and be back in my hotel and logged in remotely by around 9:30. I had to run for a plane on Thursday night, got in to PA and worked from the hotel until 1 or 2 am, got up at 5am Friday, showed and ran back to the hotel where I was on conference calls all day until 6pm (which is actually an early night). I really miss my sleep.

I make good money, but it is not worth the trade off. I am typing this from my hotel room - I am visiting my grandmother for her 94th birthday and I have to have a draft purchase agreement to the partner by Monday. So I will working from my Grandmother's kitchen table this weekend rather than actually spending any time with her. The partner needs the document by Monday so we can get it to the client by Wednesday and to the other side by the following Monday (the day after Easter). So I will likely also be working all next weekend as well.

I do actually like being a lawyer and enjoy the fact that I have finally reached a stage in my career where I get to really think and help clients get things accomplished. But I am burning out rapidly. I am currently looking to go in-house in the hopes that I will have time for the things that really matter in life. If you actually like the law, it might be worth the few years of pain. But if you are going to law school to spend a few years avoiding decisions on what you really want to do with your life, I would advise you to reconsider.

LEP Enterprises, LLC
Apr. 2, 2004, 09:39 PM
Yeah, its a tradeoff. I can only echo what other people have said on this board.

I went to an ivy league law school, I racked up 90K in debt. I was one of the lucky ones that got that "big firm" job that paid a lot.

I was silly with my money and did not pre-pay my student loans (why would I, living in new york city making between 78K - 135K a year in the four years I practiced there, I was BROKE!!!!)

Then I moved out west, and my money went a lot farther.

BUT, the horses were seen as a significant negative in my law firm. Even as much as you ask for a day off...god forbid the partner needs you when you're at a show. Then you are putting your "horses" over your "career" and it WILL come up in your review. heh.

You can go weeks without even being able to get OUT to the barn, much less put in the kind of riding that lets you advance in the sport.

In my current job, in-house for a fortune 100 corporation, I get to do challenging work and have more of a life. When I'm not on a large transaction my hours are perfectly normal -- but when I'm on a deal -- woah betty -- the horses are in the BACK SEAT. And I didn't get this job until I was 9 years out of law school and put in my time at the big firms.

BUT, I make enough money to afford my "habit" -- so that in and of itself is worth it for me.

I like doing high finance work, and M&A -- its challenging, and I'm a successful woman in a man's world. I like that a LOT!

But...I'm also unmarried with no prospects. LOL. So...that's another tradeoff. If you don't have time to ride...how on earth will you ever have time to DATE!!!!

Oh yeah, and those Law school loans -- curently at 55K. lol.

*Gryphon Bay & foal on the WAY!!!*

Dare to Dream
Apr. 2, 2004, 09:43 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lord Helpus:
Law firms do not pay you, they own you.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

For a minute there, I thought you might have worked for my firm! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

Apr. 2, 2004, 11:00 PM
I have my Bar card, but have not practiced and probably never will because of the time factor... Also you have to realize that you have to pay to take Continuing Education Classes (15 units at $15 and up / unit) and pay your Bar fees every year (in California $350/year)... and the student loans... mind you the student loans mean that you can't get a loan for anything else (like property)... ba hum bug.

Apr. 2, 2004, 11:46 PM
There are not only too many lawyers out there, but there are also too many who ride.


Apr. 2, 2004, 11:57 PM
and a lot that suck at both...

Tory Relic
Apr. 3, 2004, 07:07 AM
I worked for the federal government for 13 years and the lawyers in my division did work long hours, but nothing like in a law firm. The pay isn't as good, but most of them made in excess of 80k a year, not too bad, either. I think most of them were able to have a life outside of work. Of course, if you aren't in the DC area, that's not as much an option.

Apr. 3, 2004, 07:17 AM
msghook and xegeba:

shame on you

Apr. 3, 2004, 11:43 AM
Fourmares, before former Gov. Pete Wilson's bar fee shutdown, I believe the annual bar fees in California were approaching $450. In that light, $350 is a "real bargain." Florida is about $250 or so annual. As far as the MCLE's, I don't know if California allows this, but in Florida you can do the CLE's without having to pay for it by getting the CLE tapes from law libraries that have them, take the class yourself, and then send in your completion hours and signoff on the card for the bar. My husband, David (FL attorney), says it's a dirty little secret, but if you ask the Florida Bar, they will give you a list of the county law libraries that have the tapes. Maybe California does this, too. I know a friend I went to law school with in California couldn't afford to pay for the MCLE's to maintain his license active there (it took him about 10 years following graduation and a job as a probation officer before he could afford the bar exam and got his California ticket), and he is now living in El Paso, Texas.

On another note, perhaps xegeba and msghook should be sent off to law school to atone for their remarks.

C. Biederman
Apr. 3, 2004, 12:10 PM
After quickly reviewing their posts, I'm betting they've already been. ;-)


Apr. 3, 2004, 02:59 PM
I don't mean to hijak this thread (TracyA I hope you don't mind), but I have a question for those of you who work or worked for big firms and worked the 80+ hours. Hypothetically speaking, if you were interviewing prospective new associates and came across one who rode and/or showed who had equal grades, personality, experience as someone who had no hobbies...do you think you would pick the one with no hobbies over the one who rode? (Just based on what you know about the time commitment etc.?)

I ask because my career services office suggested that I put 2 hobbies on my resume and horse showing is one of them and I wonder if it might not be beneficial to have on there.

Thanks in advance...

proud member of the calendar- CBW FOR LIFE !!


Apr. 3, 2004, 03:37 PM
Hasty, keep your activities on there. I would much rather see a well-rounded person than a one-dimensional academic type, all things being equal. Not only does it give people something to ask you about in interviews, but you have to be able to "fit" with the group personality of the team, and interact with clients, and the fact that you are involved with more than your studies shows that you already have had to balance your time. Of course, you are still expected to prioritize your time, but you don't have to completely give up the things you love to do, and you aren't always doing the 80+ hours - remember it's a marathon not a sprint! Frankly, I'm not sure I've ever had an 80 hour week, with the possible exception of trial preparation. It's about staying steadily busy to get your hours in and deadlines met, and making the extra push or extra availability when your projects require it.


Apr. 3, 2004, 04:06 PM
Madison -

Thanks! I definately have talked A LOT about horses in my interviews and I actually think it has helped a lot, but some of those post made me think that it might not be such a great thing!

Want to hire me when I graduate? http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

proud member of the calendar- CBW FOR LIFE !!


Apr. 3, 2004, 04:51 PM
hasty, I'll take all the helping hands I can get http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif


Apr. 3, 2004, 06:48 PM
Again, thank you. I appreciate the amount of time lawyers have to put in on an ongoing basis. That is part of why I have never really wanted to be a lawyer.

My father worked for O'Melveny & Meyers, first in their Los Angeles office, later in Newport Beach for most of my life. He was primarily a probate attorney, but also got involved in big cases that needed a lot of people. I saw first hand how hard he worked.

Thank you to all who have shared your experiences. You have reinforced my basic idea. A legal education might be interesting, but I'm not sure I want to work as hard afterwords as would likely be required.


Hands Down
Apr. 3, 2004, 06:51 PM
Recently when I went to try a new Horse, that Im leasing this season, Lisa Carr (who owns the horse) had Ruben (the horse lol http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif ) over at Young Joes lol. I forget his lastname. Anyway, We trailored the horse down the road to old Joes lol. They are both FANOMINAL (sp) polo players. I guess Young Joe gets shipped all around the world to ride polo ponies. Anyway, the Joes are both lawyers. They own big time Law Firms in D.C.

"Once they turn 14 they become little witchs. You have 2 more weeks of
freedom"-Lisa Gordon Carr

*Hands Down*

&lt;a href=http://www.geocities.com/showzone2004&gt;My website please please please check it out! &lt;/a&gt;

Apr. 3, 2004, 06:57 PM
Madison check your PTs http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

proud member of the calendar- CBW FOR LIFE !!


Apr. 3, 2004, 08:13 PM
I'm surprised how many lawyers responded. I am a lawyer at a big firm in DC. My barn is about 1 hour from DC...so juggling work, riding, and the time driving to/from barn can be difficult. (just forget any other type of exercise) I agree with everyone else that you should not go to law school if you are unsure that you really want to be a lawyer. Although, I am in favor of higher education. I would recommend working as a paralegal for a couple of years. That would give you an opportunity to really get a feel for what the lawyers are doing and whether it would be something you would enjoy. Then, if you decide the law is for you, the connections and things you have learned as a paralegal will be very helpful to you as you apply to schools and look for those summer associate positions.

If any of you have any suggestions for a big-firm lawyer (litigator) who would like to find an alternative career (me), I'd appreciate hearing from you.


LEP Enterprises, LLC
Apr. 4, 2004, 12:02 AM

Keep those eyes of yours peeled for that elusive inhouse job!

Good luck!

*Gryphon Bay & foal on the WAY!!!*

Apr. 5, 2004, 05:27 AM
Sea Urchin's doing a good job of staying on top of the Older A/A's in Virginia this spring. (I do love pointing out "older")

Perhaps being a lawyer and riding has more to do with what type of law practice you go into?

From: Careers in Law: A Diversity of Choices (http://www.las.uiuc.edu/students/careeraids/pre_law/legal_profession/careers.html)

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Many new lawyers join law firms, but even the jobs offered by law firms vary greatly according to the type of law practiced. For example, many large urban firms have primarily corporate clients. Some firms offer a "general practice" that spans corporate individual, civil, and criminal law. Other firms specialize in litigation work, or in personal injury cases, family law, or patent law. A few firms concentrate on public interest legal cases.

Law firms range in size from one attorney in a single office to more than 200 attorneys in offices located around the country and overseas.

More and more legal clinics are being established, either as part of a national network or as individual operations. Legal clinics, as a rule, offer standardized services for set prices to individuals.

Corporations, banks, and title companies have legal departments and offer a different type of work for the graduate.

Government legal departments generally have openings for graduates each year. For example, federal government agencies often have large legal staffs, and there is often considerable competition among graduates to begin their careers in such agencies as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, or the Justice Department. Openings occur all over the country, not just in Washington, D.C.

Among the most prestigious positions are clerking positions for judges. Supreme Court justices and federal appellate judges each have several clerks. Federal district court judges and many state court judges also have at least one clerk.

State and municipal government offices have frequent openings for lawyers. The growing complexity of the law requires governmental legal offices to continually expand their staffs. Both the government and private law firms have added lawyers to cope with such developing areas of law as environment, energy, and discrimination.

. . .[Lawyers also]. . .specialize in advising corporations; some concentrate on solving individuals' civil legal problems; some practice criminal defense. . . . Lawyers work for various governmental units in either civil or criminal law. A much smaller number teach law or become judges.

Yet others do not practice law at all, and use their skills in the business world as executives, corporate tax experts, and bankers. Some combine careers, such as a law practice and politics. Others become legal affairs reporters.

Career Choice and Satisfaction in the Legal Profession (http://profdev.lp.findlaw.com/column/article1.html)

Friendship is Love without his wings
-Lord Byron

Apr. 5, 2004, 05:41 AM
Koko, consider working for CTFC, SEC, Treasury, or another government agency. With most of these agencies, nobody cares if you only work from 9-5. The implicit understanding, as I see it, is that folks agree "we are paid less than we would be in the private sector, so we can have a life."

Apr. 5, 2004, 05:44 AM
What an interesting and eye opening discussion!

As we are embroiled in settling an estate currently and been quoted and PAID $650.00 - $850.00 an hour for abysmal legal representation, I told my daughter that thats it - SHE is going to be a lawyer when she graduates. We NEED one in the family!

After reading through all of your posts, I think I will have her sit down and read all of them. The grass always does look greener on the other side of the fence, but to be honest, the lawyer side looks pretty crispy brown right around now.

I had no idea ... http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/no.gif


Apr. 5, 2004, 08:19 AM
Just curious as to whether any cothers are or know of or have info about lawyers in the biopharmaceutical industry. I'd love a PT or email if you do, I'm really interested in knowing more.


Apr. 5, 2004, 10:55 AM
I'm a litigator with a MegaFirm doing international arbitration.

I billed 280 hours last month. That's hours billed to clients spent working on their matters, not time spent in the office doing non-billable administrative things or on breaks (I don't bill for my mini-breaks spent checking out the boards. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif )

Now, last month was very, very busy, with about 3 or 4 more like it to come. There are other times when I've had plenty of time to visit the horses, but then I worry about not having enough billable hours. I don't take vacations except to do horsey things. I've been doing this for nearly 18 years.

So it's a trade off -- big firm practice pays well and I can keep two horses. But I can also go days or weeks at a time without seeing them. As others have said, there are other ways to practice law that are not so demanding on your time and energy.

Apr. 5, 2004, 11:49 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Hasty:
Hypothetically speaking, if you were interviewing prospective new associates and came across one who rode and/or showed who had equal grades, personality, experience as someone who had no hobbies...do you think you would pick the one with no hobbies over the one who rode? (Just based on what you know about the time commitment etc.?)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

When I worked for a big NY firm I used to do some interviewing and it occurred to me one day that it was a bit strange that we were seeking out well-rounded people in the hopes that they would be best suited for a life that involved not actually having one! It probably would make more sense in some ways to pick the people who did nothing but study their whole lives, but usually being more well-rounded is perceived as better. Although you'd never know it by a lot of lawyers, having good social skills and something besides law to talk about actually is important, and I think having a variety of interests and ability to handle a full slate of activities says something about your intelligence and capacity to juggle a workload.

Also, just a little advice based on experience - beware of much older male partners who want to take you riding after having seen it on your resume.

"Years ago, my mother used to say to me, 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -- Elwood P. Dowd

Ben and Me
Apr. 5, 2004, 11:58 AM
Does anyone know anything about environmental law? I like the idea of it in theory, but don't actually know anyone who actually practices, and what it entails.

My ideal would be to work for a "green" business like Patagonia or Ben & Jerry's, but I realize that this really isn't very likely. What are "typical" environmental law cases like? Would I most likely end up working for the EPA (that would be okay too!)


Apr. 5, 2004, 12:21 PM
The difficulty with environmental law is that to be well-paid, many environmental lawyers end up working on the "non-green" side of things, responding to clean up actions, defending against CERCLA claims, and defending against Clean Air/Clean Water claims. Plus, it's a crowded field and hard to find good jobs. I have friends who love it, though.

Hasty, I'd be careful what's on your resume. There is a stereotype out there, fair or not, that if you are into "horse-showing" you are likely not to be willing to commit fully to the job. Further, though we all know it's not true, there is a prissy inference that some people draw from horse showing. Many people do not understand the sport, nor do they get the level of commitment or hard work that it takes to be successful. Neither of these perceptions, false though they may be, are helpful to your career. As a woman interviewing, you want the attorney on the other side of the table to find you smart, capable, and to be the person they think they could call on when a TRO breaks at 6pm on Friday night. You do not want them thinking that you are going to be "too busy" playing with your pony to be available. No, it's not fair, but it's a reality that some people will think that.

When I was a 2L, I did have it on my interests, but in the context of having competed nationwide. The "Interests" line of a resume is the line I deleted if I ran out of room, and I thought it was less important than four years of college varsity sports. Why? Because like it or not, there's a lot different perception about having played varsity soccer than there is about having ridden in jumper shows.

Alternatively, you can mention it in an interview as in "Why do you want to come to Firm X in City Y?" After you mention Firm X's stellar ____ department, its national reputation in defending against hornswaggle litigation, and its terrific mentoring program, you might mention that you have a great interest in being in the area because of its proximity to great coaches or trainers. Just make sure that you don't go on to such an extent that you are later described by interviewers as the "horsie-girl".

C. Biederman
Apr. 5, 2004, 12:24 PM
Wow--so many GREAT replies on this thread!!

Portia: I've been wondering why you hadn't tossed your 2 cents in yet; 280 hours explains all.

Cassiopeia: LOL--Back in the day when I graduated from law school (early eighties, the stone ages as far as the law of sexual harassment), too many "recruiting dinners" with "firms" turned out to be with one self-described "lonely" (and always married) male partner who wanted to take said recruit for a ride, so to speak....Back then, it was kind of an occupational hazard. I kind of assumed that things had gotten better; for the sake of anyone determined enough to go through law school, I do hope so.

elizabeth--that "implicit understanding" is, in my experience, a MISunderstanding. I've worked for two federal agencies now (FDIC and Department of Justice), and neither place was 9-to-5. True, I don't do 280 billable hours for four months on end--although if I was involved in a high-profile mega-trial (e.g., Martha Stewart), I certainly might be working at that pace.

But in my experience--ESPECIALLY at someplace like DOJ, and I'd bet the SEC--there's a special work-ethic machismo; kind of a "the few; the proud; the feds" attitude. They tell you from day one that "this is the best job in the world" and that "you're expected to act better/be better than other lawyers", and you'de better believe that "and work harder" is an unspoken part of that mantra.

I'm not saying there aren't some days I can announce "I'm outa here" at 5:30 (never 5 o'clock)--but if there are more than one of those a week, over more than two or three weeks...well, let's just say that I'll hear about it in very creative and unpleasant ways.

Oh, and I have OFTEN snickered to myself in recruiting meetings when someone says they want a "well-rounded" person with hobbies or interests "outside" the office...The old BAIT AND SWITCH. They really DON'T, because I've seen the result a million times; it's always perceived that you're not "focused" on what you do.


Apr. 5, 2004, 02:25 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by CBiederman:
Oh, and I have OFTEN snickered to myself in recruiting meetings when someone says they want a "well-rounded" person with hobbies or interests "outside" the office...The old BAIT AND SWITCH. They really DON'T, because I've seen the result a million times; it's always perceived that you're not "focused" on what you do.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Oh, they want the well-rounded person who can juggle, it is just that they want you to switch to juggling all of your new assignments instead of all your hobbies http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif


Apr. 5, 2004, 03:48 PM
Love the input about mentioning if you are a horse person. Even as a paralegal I'm cautious about that. However, after working for the ultimate bitter burnt out ice queen (great attorney, severly lacking in social and comm skills), I promised myself that I'd only work for animal people in the future. I did not mention my horse riding until the end of the interview for my current position. Turns out the sr. partner loved playing polo, both he and his wife (also an attorney here) LOVE dogs (spare dog bones in drawer in kitchen just in case) and my riding became a plus for me. My guardian angel was working hard for me that day. I'd love to come back with my JD, if they haven't retired. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Apr. 5, 2004, 03:59 PM
As far as the resume, I think it really depends on the situation. I included an extensive section on my riding with key awards etc. b/c I did not work summers during college and to NOT have explained what I was doing with all that time would have created more issues than explaing that I was riding. It did not hurt me at all in the interview process. I got a few questions relating to it (one partner asked me if I knew Alison Firestone - apparently he did her parents legal work). In some ways it has been helpful at work - lots of potential clients and some current clients at shows . . . http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif I have substantially cut back the references now that I am looking to go in-house however!

Apr. 5, 2004, 08:40 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Zoef:
As far as the resume, I think it really depends on the situation. I included an extensive section on my riding with key awards etc. b/c I did not work summers during college and to NOT have explained what I was doing with all that time would have created more issues than explaing that I was riding. It did not hurt me at all in the interview process. I got a few questions relating to it (one partner asked me if I knew Alison Firestone - apparently he did her parents legal work). In some ways it has been helpful at work - lots of potential clients and some current clients at shows . . . http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif I have substantially cut back the references now that I am looking to go in-house however!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Zoef- you are my HERO. I am only a sophomore in college but will be applying to law school soon enough!! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif I have applied to be a senate page during the semester (because I live in Columbia so a lot of pre-law kids page with a senator or legislator) but every summer, I ride. That's what I do. I ride- and while I understand my mother's point of view (she says "establish contacts, make references, get experience, INTERNSHIP, INTERNSHIP") I'm also glad to read a post from someone who DID ride every summer and was able to account for themselves that manner and still be ACCEPTED and successful!!!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif I see both sides of things, and I am going to try to do some campaign work/volunteer work/hopefully I will get the page job...but it's nice to hear that you don't have to leave your summer activities totally unknown!

LEP Enterprises, LLC
Apr. 5, 2004, 09:00 PM
My company has a couple of openings in Denver, Colorado. The upside is that we're a fortune 150 company that pays really well. the downside is that we are in telecom and that is a ROUGH industry to be in. Oh, and Denver is a GREAT area to ride horses in!

PT me if you are interested. I'd love to see a few more horsey lovers at my company. Our GC's daughters ride hunter/jumper, and our Treasurer's daughter rides Arabs on the National circuit.

I know we have an opening in regulatory, and I think we have some in litigation also.

Haha - if you can find me a horse to lease or buy for this summer of showing I'll put in even a better reference!!! ;p


But seriously, PT me if you want more info.

*Gryphon Bay & foal on the WAY!!!*

Apr. 6, 2004, 08:04 AM
It was funny to see this thread today because I was thinking about lawyers last night. My husband is an attorney (almost three years out of school) and I was wondering how he'd have time to ride if he wanted to.

The first two years out of school he clerked for a supreme court justice and then the Court of Appeals here in Michigan. Now he's working for a midsize (30 attorneys?) firm. Makes 50k. Works about 60-65 hours a week, six days a week. Brings work home with him at night, reads cases before going to bed. Turned down a 6-figure salary with a big firm because he knew then he'd never be home. As it is he needs to make his billable time (I think they have to make 1700/year) and thus I'll probably never convince him to take a vacation (but with pets, who has time for a vacation?).

He did well in law school, editor for law review, partial scholarship, etc. He had one of the highest bar scores in Michigan. We still have about $600/month in student loans to pay for it all, and this is paying it on the super extended plan. He doesn't even have a nice car - drives a beat up Ford Focus.

It certainly would not be worth it if he didn't like his job. Most of his friends from law school are in the same boat - relatively average incomes (35-50k), long hours. I think it would take a lot of dedication to still have horse time, and for some it would be difficult to pay for the horses plus student loans (if you have them) and still afford to live. He has a few friends with high dollar jobs, but most of them are not home often and none have time consuming hobbies.

Apr. 6, 2004, 08:28 AM
LEPEnterprises - sounds like you have some offerings that could make someone very happy. I have been looking for in-house transactional work (have an ap. in that I am very excited about so fingers crossed) as I have been doing deal work for private equity firms (venture capital and lbo).

For those of you who understand relevance of the billable hour numbers, my friend from law school works at Cravath. She billed over 4000 hours last year! I can barely hack it here and have any time to ride and I think we generally bill around 2200.

Apr. 6, 2004, 08:40 AM
payok, if your husband is working 60-65 hours a week, he is billing a LOT more than 1700 hours a year.

and Zoef, 4000???? 3000 is unheard of in Atlanta and 4000 just doesn't even seem physically possible. 4000 would mean billing at least 11 hours a day EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR!!!


Apr. 6, 2004, 08:51 AM

He's only been there two months, so is *really* worried about making billable hours, hence he's working so much. I had the same thought -that he must be doing more than their minimum.

I guess that's good though - they have a generous bonus structure based on billable hours, so its more $$. Not so good though if he burns himself out, which is where I'm worried he's headed.


Apr. 6, 2004, 09:08 AM
4200 to be exact. Huge cases in CA and Australia flying back and forth ever other week. When she first started she was told that they worked 9am to 12 pm 7 days a week. Of course, she never goes home at 12pm.

To keep this horse related - good thing she does not want to ride!

Apr. 6, 2004, 09:09 AM
1700 hours really is nothing - very easy to meet over a whole year, so I'm sure he'll do just fine. So don't worry payok, if he's only been there 2 months, he'll probably settle in and slow down a little as it levels off. THe new guy always gets dumped on - everyone assumes they have time available b/c they are new!

And Zoef - your poor friend!!! All those travel hours, plus that schedule, can really add up. I can't imagine the toll that must take on her. And, yes, riding REALLY would not work for her http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif


Apr. 6, 2004, 09:14 AM
Wow, this thread has been a real eye-opener! I am not a lawyer, but my best friend from high school and her husband are both lawyers at big firms in NYC. She got a job that paid well over 100K her first year out of law school (I believe this is her 7th year practicing).

What amazes me, is that they travel ALL the time. We're talking 4 vacations a year AT LEAST, one of them being 3 weeks. She just had a baby, and took 3 months paid maternity - and her husband got 3 months paid paternity as well. I was amazed by this, as the jobs I have had since college - horse jobs and IT - have never allowed me anywhere near this much vacation time, and for obvious reasons, my horse jobs would have been impossible if I'd become pregrant and unable to ride.

I've always been under the impression that she has it really easy - but reading this thread, I'd have to say she's in the minority among lawyers - either that or she works ridiculously hard and does such an amazing job with juggling everything, it's not evident to an outside observer.

Apr. 6, 2004, 09:55 AM
Most firms provide four weeks vacation. In my experience, the only way you can retain your sanity is to leave on vacation for at least 2 weeks at a time. If you go for less than that people make you work on vacation. When I go for two weeks, I get to hand stuff off to other people who sub in for me.

When I told you I was busy and that I could not write much, did you think I was fooling http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Apr. 6, 2004, 10:39 AM
As a partner in a big firm, I have at least some good news for those of you who are rider-lawyers.

The bad news? The longer you practice, the more time you have to devote to non-billable stuff in order to enhance your professional profile and attract (and keep) clients. At the end of the year, my total hourly contribution (including non-billable) far outpaces most of the associates.

The good news: the more you can control your own practice, the more flexibility you will have to horse show. For example, I do as many local "A" shows as possible (even thought they are less glamorous than, say, Saratoga or Lake Placid) because I can do a little work during the show, make calls to clients, and, for shows in the Cleveland area, I actually go into the office if I can during the show day.

With my own client base, I can control some of the work flow (delegate??). They don't know if I'm working at the office or somewhere else.

It's not easy to do, and I work most non-horse show weekends, work at home in the evening, and sometimes strange hours to fit it all in. I have also been practicing longer than many of you (in year 16), so after years of paying dues and having to actually be in the office to be responsive to others, I have the ability to do more of those things. More junior lawyers HAVE to be in the office to be responsive to their "clients" -- the more senior lawyers.

But this is what I do in order to be able to afford to board and show 1-2 horses.

It's all about choices. I don't know of other jobs or professions that I could do that would pay me well enough to support all of this. Do you? Other than "lottery winner" and "trust beneficiary" -- neither of which will ever pan out for me . . . I am not a member of the lucky sperm club, so I do what I hafta' to live my dream!

Apr. 6, 2004, 10:58 AM
I'm sorry, but it is not humanly possible to bill 11.5 hours 365 days per year, which is what you would have to do to get to 4200 (without double billing and unit billing). I don't care how busy you are on a big case and I don't care if it's for Cravath.

I know all about the Cravath work ethic, and they work hard like every Mega Firm, but the "our lawyers work 15 hours per day, every single day" line is a myth Cravath and its lawyers like to perpetuate.

"Bruce here teaches classical philosophy, Bruce there teaches Haegelian philosophy, and Bruce here teaches logical positivism. And is also in charge of the sheep dip." Monty Python

Apr. 6, 2004, 11:30 AM
lol Zoef, I thought you were just avoiding me http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif Really though, I know you work hard, just amazed by the extent of what I've read on this thread!

Apr. 6, 2004, 11:44 AM
Portia - I will assume that you are not calling my friend a liar. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

I have no question that she works the hours she claims she works, nor the number of hours she bills. Think about it. If you are flying back and forth from Australia you bill ALL THE HOURS you sit on that plane. That is going to add up very quickly. In law school she generally slept about 4 hrs a night. She is one of the "I do not need sleep people." But that is really irrelevant to this discussion anyway, isn't it?

I have to go back to work now anyway, since clients are screaming for things.

And I do know a lot of people who make a lot more money than I do (and could afford a horse habit) without sacrificing their lives to do so. I call them lucky. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

[This message was edited by Zoef on Apr. 06, 2004 at 02:04 PM.]

Apr. 6, 2004, 11:52 AM
At the most prestigious of New York law firms, based on my experience, this is how a senior deal associate's month shortly before partnership COULD look or this is how a very junior associate's first year or few COULD look:
Assuming 30 days in a month, the breakdown of hours worked per day could fall out as follows:
24 hour work day x 4 days per month = 96
19 hour work day x 6 days per month = 115
13 hour work day x 10 days per month = 130
9 hour work day x 6 days per month = 54

395 hours per month x 12 months = 4740 hours per year

So, yes, it is possible to work that many hours per year. You are pulling four all-nighters per month (certainly reasonable if you are a deal lawyer or if you are flying overseas b/c you bill for the flight time), you are working six super ugly days per month (19 hours - usually the day after an all-nighter is horribly long, too, if you are a deal lawyer b/c you are papering the deal you stayed up all night to sign), 13 hours per day is a painful yet fairly regular big-firm day - 9:30 a.m. 'til 12:30 a.m. (dinner at the firm and working through lunch, losing time to non-billable stuff), and 9 hour days are the normal days (in at 9:00, out at 8-ish, dinner at the firm and working through lunch, losing time to non-billable stuff).

Mind you, unless you are doing big, hot, ugly litigations like Microsoft litigation (or, sadly, Enron litigation) or deals with Wachtell, you are not having months like this 12 months out of the year. The reality in my practicing world was that you would have three or four weeks of HELL doing a deal, with two weeks of normalcy before the next deal picked up. Given these down periods in between deals, I can't envision ever hitting 4000. But I absolutely had friends who did it.

And numbers just south of that? Oh, yes. Sullivan, Wachtell, Cravath. Without issue.

Apr. 6, 2004, 11:59 AM
Yuck. I usually get in 1800-1900 billable hours per year (Midwest practice), plus 400-700 non-billable hours/year. Typically, I try to get in early, leave at a decent hour (6:30ish), work at home in the evening to get caught up 1-2 nights a week, probably bill some hours 2 weekends/month, have 1-2 trials/arbitrations per year (typical in civil/business litigation) which is pretty much 18-19 hours/day prior to and during trial, and it seems to add up without too much insanity. I certainly don't earn what the big NY lawyers pull down a year, but I think I live a much more desirable lifestyle.

Apr. 6, 2004, 12:08 PM
There is an adult amature in the area that is a lawyer, and she is able to afford 2 horses of her own and part ownership in a few investment horses. She regularly shows on the "A" circut and is able to travel for 3 weeks during the summer to various horse shows throughout the States and Canada. So, it is possible to be a lawyer and ride but is probably not the easiest thing in the world to do! Like others have said, though, it will most definatly support your horse habit.


Apr. 6, 2004, 12:27 PM
I'm not a lawyer but my husband is a litigation attorney, and many of our friends are lawyers or involved in the legal profession in some other capacity, i.e. paralegals, court reporters, etc. I work in the legal department of my company, and our attorneys make less than what mid-size firms pay and they work just as hard, and just as many hours.

My husband usually works 70-80 hours a week, very rarely will he take a full weekend off. When he has a big trial coming up, he routinely pulls all nighters and works straight through the weekends in the months and weeks leading up to it. On top of that, he has to travel for work, entertain clients, and squeeze in pro bono work. If you want to have a life outside of practicing law, I would not recommend litigation. There is no way he would ever have time for a hobby as time consuming as riding.

If you are interested in the legal profession, I would explore other careers within it... For example, have you looked into court reporting? Where I live there is a dearth of court reporters and in addition to making really good money, you some flexibility over your schedule which makes it much more compatible with horse ownership. That's not to say there won't be times you will get overnight jobs, etc. but generally speaking, it's much less of a grind than working as a lawyer and the work can be very interesting.

Apr. 6, 2004, 12:43 PM
Duplicating my response from the lawyers who ride in the dressage forum since there are some different people posting over here:

In my conflict resolution class last night we had the head of the Federal Court's ADR program speak. She loves what she does. I will be interviewing a lawyer who is the head of my State's victim/offender reparation program for a paper I'm writing and I understand she also loves what she does. I don't know what the pay is like for positions like these, but it's another route to consider.

I pray that I will not end up being a law slave like so many others when I'm finally practicing. Life it too short. Please remind me of that when I'm a card carrying lawyer http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Apr. 6, 2004, 12:43 PM
No, Zoef, I'm not calling your friend a liar. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

That's why I mentioned double billing and unit billing. In some circumstances, hours billed can be a lot more than actual hours worked. As in, on a 12 hour flight to Australia, you bill 16 hours to the client (including your time spent waiting in the airport and getting to your hotel from the airport), and you work 10 of those hours on the plane for another client, so you have 26 billable hours in a 16 hour span. Or unit billing, where you produce a modified form document and bill a certain number of hours for what it would have taken you to produce it had you not already had the form, not the 30 minutes it actually took you to do it. All of which is perfectly appropriate depending on what the firm's agreement is with the particular clients.

Elizabeth, that calculation does not work. You have to account for time spent working on non-billable administrative tasks -- and there are plenty -- and time spent eating, and time spent in the bathroom, and you have to do mandatory CLE. And even occasionally take a day off, if only one a month. Sure, working a 70 or 80 hour week isn't unusual -- but you maybe get 60 billable hours out of that 80.

I work in a MegaFirm, and have for many years -- and we have a New York office (and offices in D.C., London, Munich, L.A., Houston, and 4 others) -- and one thing I do know is how billable hours work.

Apr. 6, 2004, 01:21 PM
Edited to take out whatever was offensive.

[This message was edited by elizabeth on Apr. 06, 2004 at 03:50 PM.]

Apr. 6, 2004, 01:30 PM
Portia, clearly I offended you somehow (though I am not sure how). I've deleted my post out to avoid the offense - I really just thought, though, that I was sharing my law firm experience.

In any event, apologies.

[This message was edited by elizabeth on Apr. 06, 2004 at 03:53 PM.]

Apr. 6, 2004, 03:22 PM
Well in the interests of sharing as to whether you can accomplish ridiculous hrs:

1. I do not do CLE requirementns because I have none.

2. If am am busy I probably lose only 1 hr a day to non-billable. I generally eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at my desk.

3. I think about client work in the shower and walking to work and at the gym and I do NOT bill this.

I tend to err on the side of not billing if in doubt but I know that plenty of people are more aggressive on what they bill.

Okay enough of this time wasting. I am glad to know that there are others like me, but since I question my own sanity it is in the end not much of a comfort.

Back to turning docs for 2 sets of deals this evening! Glad I can vent here!

Apr. 6, 2004, 03:56 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LH:
Yuck. I usually get in 1800-1900 billable hours per year (Midwest practice), plus 400-700 non-billable hours/year. Typically, I try to get in early, leave at a decent hour (6:30ish), work at home in the evening to get caught up 1-2 nights a week, probably bill some hours 2 weekends/month, have 1-2 trials/arbitrations per year (typical in civil/business litigation) which is pretty much 18-19 hours/day prior to and during trial, and it seems to add up without too much insanity. I certainly don't earn what the big NY lawyers pull down a year, but I think I live a much more desirable lifestyle.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

1800-1900 is my billable range for my job I'll be starting. I think your lifestyle sounds reasonable, and though my salary won't compare to BIGLAW firms, I believe the cost of living/horse maintenance in my city is such that it should make up for it and I *should* have some life outside the walls of the firm.

Apr. 6, 2004, 04:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> As in, on a 12 hour flight to Australia, you bill 16 hours to the client (including your time spent waiting in the airport and getting to your hotel from the airport), and you work 10 of those hours on the plane for another client, so you have 26 billable hours in a 16 hour span. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Portia, I thought the Model Code of Conduct and some of the state bars have started frowning on this type of thing? It's been awhile, but as I recall, this was a question that came up quite abit on the MPRE. I just have this flash back of the Bar-Bri guy telling us to "watch the movie" on the plane because you can't double bill. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I'm pretty efficient, but it's pretty rare that I would only have one hour unbillable of time in the office. (Except, depositions, all day meetings, or court time, which are pretty continuous). Once you take out bathroom breaks, firm administrative issues (such as entering your time, organizing a file, finding that phone number etc), and miscellaneous farting around time, the non-billables add up. Throw in pro bono time, and I know lots of people who work 10 to bill 7.

Regardless of that, making 2000 hours a year is not really that difficult, if you have good work coming in. Some things just take time to do and to do well. 2000 hours works out to 8 hours billed per day, five days a week, fifty weeks a year. It is quite possible to do with one to two weekends per month and normal vacation hours and still ride. (Of course, if you want to get the fun stuff, particularly as a litigator, you will be putting in more time because you are hungry for the experience that comes with some sloggy hours).

All I'm saying is that it is quite possible to have a rewarding law career and to ride fairly regularly. You have to make some sacrifices, and you have to make some adjustments, but all law jobs, even all BigLaw, are not awful. They can be incredibly rewarding and interesting, with great opportunities.

Apr. 6, 2004, 05:21 PM
I don't think it's expressly stated as being verboten,but it's been quite awhile since I took the MPRE. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

In any event, it can end up looking bad -- there's been more than a few fee fights where the records get made public and show that some of the lawyers somehow managed to bill more than 24 hours in a single day.

If I'm working when on a plane, it's on the same matter that I'm travelling for. But, hell, we have some fee agreements where we're not allowed to bill for travel time at all. Those are really annoying. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I don't quarrel that people can adn do put in huge hours for a month or two or three in a row or in a year. We've all done that. It's the notion that people can keep it up month after month, year after year, that I have to disagree with. Lawyers, even in big firms in New York City, are not super-human, and humans eventually have to rest or they die. I hate seeing the myth of never-ending work perpetuated. To me, it's just a way for some lawyers to try to get people to feel sorry for them and justify their salaries.

But that's just my opinion.

LEP Enterprises, LLC
Apr. 6, 2004, 05:57 PM
I hear that Portia.

It was just sick, the way people felt compelled to BRAG about their all-nighters.

And yes, clients that expect you to travel endlessly, then don't allow you to bill for your time spent doing it...are the suck.

*Gryphon Bay & foal on the WAY!!!*

Apr. 6, 2004, 06:31 PM
Wow...this has been a great, and timely, thread for me! I am currently waiting to hear back on 12 law school applications out there...I receive my B.A. in May, and am heading to law school in the fall (dependent on where I am accepted). And, of course, am struggling with the horsey prospects...

My dutch 3 year old is definitely coming with me...I'll probably stick her in a training barn with full care/training and look for someone who might like to half-lease or just ride for free.

The other two are debatable at this point...they could stay up here at my farm, or I could take them out with me...both are a bit older (16 and 18), but in great shape (my vet was dumbfounded, after a year of treating them, that they were over 10 years old). My gelding I would love to have around because he is just so much fun to ride, and over the last 13 years we've established a strong bond...I was thinking about taking them together and putting them in a shelter/pasture boarding situation.

Realistically, without any other extracurricular activities, how much free time did any of you have through law school? Or, is that a contradiction in terms completely? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"The 21 yr old Equestrienne with 22 yrs of experience who gets stoned and longes young warmbloods and then jumps them with no helmet."

Official mucker, picker, groomer, treat distributor, scratcher, wrapper, and servant to Sly, Aussie, Sesica, and Bristol.

Proud Member of the Elite Four Member Alaska Clique!!

playing cards
Apr. 6, 2004, 07:02 PM
Does anyone have any insight whether tax lawyers have enough time to ride http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif? I'm summering at a huge internation firm and wonder what my life will be like if I get and accept an offer.

Back to the op's question...it is not all bad to do the horse thing. I did for 7 years, was convinced I would never go to college. I was successful, I worked my way up to riding for a few barns that did the A's, and I had no junior career. Didn't even start riding seriously until I was 16. But I wasn't good enough in my opinion, so I went to college. Worked my @#$%# off at a 3rd tier university, transferred to one of best schools in the midwest, graduated PBK, got a full tuition scholarship to 2nd tier law school, made law review, and was just elected as editor in chief. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I guess my point is, for potential students and current parents, it is not the end of the world if you or your kid doesn't want to go to college. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif Perhaps it will give them DRIVE.

The best part? I still work part-time for my former trainer. I still have pro-status, teaching is like riding a bike, and so is riding once I get the loosey gooseys out of the way.

Do I get to ride much? Not right now. But every once in a while is enough to satisfy my "fix" because I let myself do it full-time early on in life.

I have found that it never pays to be afraid of hard work. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif I know things are going to suck once I start at the big firm, but I love to be busy. It's exciting! Then again, anyone who is not driven to tears by the tax code propbably finds a way to enjoy most things in life http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif Not necessarily the best quality to be non-discriminatory....

Wooops I just realized after re-reading that I didn't really answer the OP's question. I shall leave my response nonetheless in case it applies to others. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

Apr. 6, 2004, 07:13 PM
I guess I'm lucky. Due to lack of jobs, I was forced to start my own practice right out of law school. I get to set my own schedule and can go show when I want.

I didn't own a horse but I was a working student during law school. I didn't get a horse until I had been out of school for five years. Now I ride two times during the work week (it's better to go in the morning; that way I don't miss my ride because work won't let me leave the office) and on both weekend days. I can't compete well against the perpetual amateurs who are at every show out there, but I didn't spend lots of money on my horses either. I'm hoping to get a second show horse and when I do, I think I'll have to put one of them in full care just so I can have some free time. But I don't worry about billables like you guys do. On days I ride I work from about 1 p.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. and on days I don't ride I work from about 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 or 8:30 p.m. Sometimes I have to work later or weekends, but not too often.

The big snag is the hubby, who really resents all the time I'm away from home. He also thinks it's a terrible waste of money.

It was really helpful to hear how hard you all work to do this sport; I was beginning to get discouraged with all the trustfunders/armpieces that seem to be galloping around the warm-up rings (not that there's anything wrong with those occupations . . . . http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

Apr. 6, 2004, 08:08 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Portia:
I don't quarrel that people can adn do put in huge hours for a month or two or three in a row or in a year. We've all done that. It's the notion that people can keep it up month after month, year after year, that I have to disagree with. Lawyers, even in big firms in New York City, are not super-human, and humans eventually have to rest or they die. I hate seeing the myth of never-ending work perpetuated.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I have to agree with you - at some point it takes its toll physically on those who try to sustain that pace. Some people can take more than others, but at some point you just have to hit the brick wall.


Apr. 6, 2004, 08:34 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Madison:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Portia:
I don't quarrel that people can adn do put in huge hours for a month or two or three in a row or in a year. We've all done that. It's the notion that people can keep it up month after month, year after year, that I have to disagree with. Lawyers, even in big firms in New York City, are not super-human, and humans eventually have to rest or they die. I hate seeing the myth of never-ending work perpetuated.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I have to agree with you - at some point it takes its toll physically on those who try to sustain that pace. Some people can take more than others, but at some point you just have to hit the brick wall.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Who's that M&A guy teaching at Harvard? Coates. He made partner at Wachtell (highest per-partner profits in the world, it is rumored), and he gave it up and LEFT to go to Harvard and teach (teaching pays diddley compared to being a Wachtell partner).

His parting words were something along the lines of "it's like being in a pie eating contest where the prize for winning is. . . more pie."

Apr. 6, 2004, 09:28 PM
What a great thread! I'm working in DC at two big firms over the summer, and it's so interesting to hear the clamour of experience (which is more what I expected that what I'd like). I should plan on enjoying life while I still can!

DutchOwner, I can answer your question since I'm currently in law school. You can have time to ride, but your life will be law school and horse, period. You will NOT have time to ride three horses--one is about all I can manage, and even then I can only ride four days a week. I brought two horses, but I free lease the hunter to the trainer. If I did nothing extracurricular I might have time for more riding, but I doubt it--there's just not any more daylight to milk. I have substantial time commitments--I'm Editor in Chief of my school's Journal of Law and Technology--but before that one horse was still plenty. Now I just don't sleep. More practice for firm life! If you have any more questions about juggling law school and horses (or law school in general), feel free to email me...I'd be happy to share my experiences. Good luck with your applications!

I have a question for you big-city attorneys out there too: do most of you live in the city or commute? I'm commuting for the summer and living 1/2 a mile from my horse, but I'm wondering if that's the best solution long-term. Would you rather drive a long way to ride or drive a long way to work? Is face-time really important, or can you leave early (6 pm), ride, then work late nights through extranet (or does it depend on the firm)?

Apr. 6, 2004, 09:51 PM
Ishmael (loff the name, BTW), I was thinking of that the other night, when I was driving home from the office let's just say late. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif When I bought my house, I knew I could live close to the office or close to the barn. I have a ten minute drive home from downtown. If I lived close to the barn, it would be 45 minutes, and that's a big difference when you're driving home late at night.

The unfortunate fact is you'll be going to the office a lot more often than you'll be going to the barn, and you're going to be staying there a lot later in the evening. So (unless you have kids and have to do the 'burbs), the logical choice is to live close to the office. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Face time is important early on, not so much after you've been there for several years. Partners can get cranky when they're working and want to talk about something and can't find bodies around.

My personal preference is to stay in the office and not to work at home, because I like to keep my home as my home -- period. However, a lot of people with families do what you're talking about, when they can. But often things are going on that require you stay in the office working with other attorneys or clients, so you can't count on being able to get out early.

"Bruce here teaches classical philosophy, Bruce there teaches Haegelian philosophy, and Bruce here teaches logical positivism. And is also in charge of the sheep dip." Monty Python

Apr. 6, 2004, 09:53 PM
What an wonderful and enlightening thread! As a first year law student, all of your insights are greatly appreciated and have put a lot of things in perspective for me.

I would also like to second the comments of ishmael that juggling riding and law school is definitely possible. However, these two things will pretty much be your life. I know they are mine, hence the name. I only ride three times a week and have two horses. It works out well in that I do a lot of riding on those days and have others to ride my horses during the week. Even still, it's not easy with my barn being so far away and the guilt I feel when I'm there and should be reading/studying/outlining.

What I am really worried about is graduating with ~$100,000 in loans and not being financially able to do what I wanted to do with a law degree, work in the public interest field.

Apr. 6, 2004, 10:02 PM
Call me (sorry could not resist http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif):

I live downtown and walk to work. My firm pays for a car or cab service home after hours and people who live in the 'burbs find that getting home at night is no problem (since they leave so late there is no traffic). Getting in to work is really the issue.

As far as face time, we can remotely access our system so you can work from home if you want. I find that difficult when I am drafting documents since at my stage I am cribbing language from other deals in which I have worked and all of the binders from those deals are in my office.

Face time seems to depend on the firm. When I started (at the end of the 90's boom) there was no such thing. When the market tanked and we had no work and associates were getting fired face time became an issue, which in a weird way made it actually harder to get out of work to ride even though I had less work. We are pretty busy again now so hopefully that issue will go away.

If you want more info feel free to PT me, since it appears from your sig line that we are in close proximity to one another. I also worked in DC as a summer but chose to come back to Boston.

Apr. 6, 2004, 10:03 PM
HorseLaw, if you've got mostly Sallie Mae, they have special payment plans for students who go into public interest work. You'll be paying for law school until you retire http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif , but you won't be a deadbeat.

The real problem would be being able to afford to keep your horse on a public interest law salary, but if that practice is what you are going to find satisfying, then do it

(Says she who sold out to Big Law from the beginning. When many years ago I told one of my friends in law school that I was going to work for the Energy Litigation section of the MegaFirm, his response was "Oh, so you're going to go be a lackey for the Despoilers of the Universe." Yep, that's pretty much it.) http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

"Bruce here teaches classical philosophy, Bruce there teaches Haegelian philosophy, and Bruce here teaches logical positivism. And is also in charge of the sheep dip." Monty Python

Apr. 6, 2004, 10:29 PM
We are now up to 5 pages including that tiresome and pointless sidebar from CellosPride.
I rest my case.

Apr. 7, 2004, 06:45 AM
ishmael, I completely agree with Portia - as much as I would love to live near my horse, it makes far more sense for me to live close to work. I can run home and let my dog out, meet a repair person, or go back when I forget something essential like my laptop! The barn is a 45 minute drive, more with bad traffic. I would kill myself if I had to do that every day, each way, to get to and from work. You mind the drive a lot less when you are going to see your horse.

I also agree with Portia that "face time" is most important early on. I choose the leave at 6 or 6:30 and take work home option regularly because I need to let my dog out and it is never a problem - the main thing is that people know I will stay if there is a reason I need to be in the office - you just cancel the riding lesson, have the neighbor let the dog out, etc . . .. A lot of it is personal preference - some people can't get work done at home, some can.


J. Turner
Apr. 7, 2004, 07:50 AM
I love language and logic and writing. I wish I had gone to law school after undergrad. My step-grandfather was a partner at Sullivan & Worcester in Boston and discouraged me. I now am very interested in it again, but just don't see a way with a child, a very busy husband (chef), and a horse that would obviously have to go bye bye.

Teaching is a lot of hours (correcting, calling parents, doing grades) of no overtime, but with some of the salaries noted here, 41K with summers reasonably clear, looks decent. I do have to take classes in the summer. I swear it takes the whole summer to recover from the mean students. I get called a bitch weekly. Oh, and it's my fault they didn't study and failed. But anyhow, teaching doesn't provide enough money to show, barely enough to have a horse at a non-showing facility.

Talk about hard work, my husband, a sous chef at the Sea Island Resort, works 6 days a week, 12 hours a day (sometimes two weeks straight) for about the same as I make. I cannot wait until he makes chef de cuisine. At least he'll make more money.

All that, and being a lawyere still interests me, but I think it's a pipe dream. What about scholarships?

My Photo Albums (http://community.webshots.com/user/jessicaseamus)

"When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes."
-- Shakespeare, Henry V

Apr. 7, 2004, 08:40 AM
I am a federal employee/attorney which means there are crunch times but nothing like the private sector. Of course the salary means I do my own barn work in the morning- family feeds in the afternoon. (children grown) Between work, mucking stalls and commuting to work, I dont have much time to ride (or much of anything else) right now. As I have no indoor, I am living for the longer days and rideable ground. I compromise and accept the fact that I seem to train/school horses in 20 minute increments!Sometimes it works sometimes it does not! Just wish I had an indoor- I could keep going once I got home after dark!

Apr. 7, 2004, 09:42 AM
I second the recommendation to live closer to work than to the horses. I live less than two miles from my office, but I often will ride in the mornings (reverse commute) and get in about 9:30 or 10. Riding in the morning (if you're a morning person -- I like being up early) is super because it gets the whole day started right. However, it all depends on who you are working with -- if your partner or client likes early meetings, you come in earlier and ride later. Suburbia isn't bad if you can work on the train, but if you're on a hideous case or deal, knowing you can quickly run home to shower or change or catch a couple of hours of sleep can be important.

Face time is important. Not per se as face time, but in terms of demonstrating that you are the go-to person who can be relied upon. Perception is a big part of it -- I don't care if folks work from home, but if they are on my case and we're getting ready for trial, I need to be able to find them if I need them. Similarly, if a junior associate has turned down work saying they were "too busy" and wasn't in the office past 6 or on any weekends, it is likely not a great path towards job security.

Apr. 7, 2004, 11:35 AM
Thanks for the advice! I definitely appreciate your comments. I will stick out the commute as a summer for economic reasons (the fewer student loans the better), but living near the office does seem like the logical decision long-term.

Thanks for the face-time recommendations, too--as a junior associate, I fully expect to be working long, late hours, but it's nice to know that higher up the ranks can be a bit more flexible. It's hard to ask the "real" questions from partners at the firms, because I'd be shooting myself in the foot if I gave the impression that I'm not devoted to long hours. It'd also be a bit of a wrong impression, because I really won't mind working the hours and I enjoy legal work (I worked at Legal Aid in West Virginia last summer and LOVED it, but am looking forward to the more complicated legal questions that BigLaw gets paid those enormous fees to solve). I'll just make sure that my horse's barn has an indoor with lights so that I can ride late!

Apr. 7, 2004, 04:31 PM
This has been a great thread to read! I am currently waiting to hear back from 4 law schools right now. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/dead.gif It has been great to hear how everyone handles work or school and riding!

Member of the "Baby Greenie Support Group" and major advocate of the Green Arm Band http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
My pictures! http://community.webshots.com/user/estieg12
**Ticatto** 2000 Dutch WB gelding by Consul

Apr. 7, 2004, 07:00 PM
I'm a marketing and management consultant who works with major law firms (and some not so major ones) and over my 20 years of doing this, I've worked counseled a number of riding addicts. (I, too, am crazy enough to own hunters/jumpers/eq horses and run a boarding facility, in my non-abundant, non-billable time). I will just be brutally frank: It is very hard to ride and practice in a law firm unless you "own" your practice and have a large book of business. There has been a lot of talk here about billable hours. The greatest freedom from the billable hour comes from collections and being perceived as a rainmaker. Then, as long as you are servicing your clients responsively and collecting in a timely manner, the firm really couldn't care less where you are physically located on any particular day. That might not provide consolation for someone just starting out, but it's real and something to shoot for.

Additionally, one great outcome from your interest in riding could be an ability to attract business from others who ride: When you're passionate about something, it comes through. I know one successful Wall Street employment lawyer who has cultivated a significant referral base from her horse show and barn buddies--probably adding up to more than $1 million/year. Now that's not her entire practice, but it's a healthy chunk of change and she gets the business by doing what she loves to do. Her overall success has enabled her to convince her firm to sponsor equestrian charities and she will even be traveling to the West Coast to entertain clients at a table at the Olympic Trials (I've twisted some Grand Prix riders' arms to convince them to stop by and give some color commentary). Not a bad way to make hay and eat it, too!

Apr. 7, 2004, 07:14 PM
Fascinating thread... I'm another person considering the law school route. Currently in research (mostly genetic and chemical right now), but not wanting to get into the academic circus of getting a M.S. and PhD and not really seeing any salary benefits.

I'm still mulling over what to do; frankly the thought of not having any free time scares me. Then again, between the two jobs that I'm working now, I'm working 12 hours a day. No time to see the horses except on the weekends!

I can't stand the thought of doing something that would bore me - I NEED a challenge and think I'd enjoy learning to think, analyze, and discuss that going to law school would provide. But... but... but.. it's a hard decision. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Thanks to all of you students and lawyers for taking the time to voice some opinions - they mean a lot for those of us sitting on the fence!

Apr. 7, 2004, 07:29 PM
It looks like I'm the only lawyer who hasn't posted on this thread yet!

I resisted looking at this thread, because I was concerned it was going to be lawyer bashing. It has actually been very interesting. I head up my firm's recruiting function, so some of the comments have been particularly interesting.

I am one person who thinks that a law degree is a great way to pave the way to being able to support a horse habit. But I agree with those who say you should only do it if you are interested, and that you are actually contracting for "deferred enjoyment". The first few years of a career ARE tough.

It is generally well paid. Starting lawyers at major law firms in my part of the country make more than $120K. It is flexible -- I have NEVER not been able to take time off in the middle of the day for a child's performance, or to leave to go watch my daughter show or to meet the vet.

It involves interesting people, and the possibility that you can work for yourself, for a firm, or a company. Your career can actually evolve with your life cycle and interests. Not many corporations can offer that!

I work in a 400+ person law firm, and have been a partner for over 15 years. And everything people here say about working hard is true. Lawyers work for their money, not the other way around. You can never rest on your laurels. But we who practice law forget how wonderful the freedom and flexibility of our schedules is. If you work in a big corporation, then you have to punch the clock even at very senior levels. If not directly, then because you have to attend "meetings" all the time. The independence of practicing law is priceless.

I think the fact that there are so many lawyers posting on this thread is a testament to what a great way it is to combine flexibility, intellectual stimulation and feed a horse habit! I would never tell someone to go to law school because they weren't sure what else they wanted to do. But if you think you will like it, I can state that it has been an amazingly wonderful profession for me.

Apr. 8, 2004, 05:15 AM
Lawyering is long hours at first - law school is very competitive - better be in the top 10% of your class if you want a good job - after 10 years I am finally make enough to comfortably show all I want and have just bought my first really nice horse - I also set my own schedule as long as I am where I need to be they don't care when I get my work done as long as it is done - I come and go as I want - I did the large firm scene for a while but now work for a small firm and love it -- good luck and remember to push for the grades - it will pay off $$$ later I promise.

Normal is the setting on a dryer!

Apr. 8, 2004, 11:34 AM
No, I'LL be the last lawyer to chime in! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Just when you start to think everyone on the board is a lawyer, is married to a lawyer, is the child of a lawyer, or is in law school, one more pops out. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I graduated from law school last year, and I'm working for a federal court. My husband graduated from the same law school 2 years before, he's working in the litigation department of a big big firm. Our schedules are VASTLY different.

I work a pretty consistent 40 hour week, and that can usually be paced so that I have a half day towards the end of the week. Mr. AnnM, OTOH, has NO WAY of predicting what his schedule might be like, other than just plain hectic. He's been slammed lately, travels at least a couple of days a week, sometimes more than one trip, and works the entire weekend. At this rate, I have time for horses (though lack the money for them on my own), and no way would he have time to ride (but his income would certainly allow it)!

For those of you soon-to-be law students...I didn't ride in law school, but it wasn't because of lack of time. I lived in the middle of downtown Chicago, and didn't have a car for the first year, nor the inclination to drive 1+ hour for a lesson when I did have a car. If you end up at a less urban environment, keeping up with the horses shouldn't be too hard. Time management is key, but no one I knew in law school had the discipline, desire, or need, really, to work more than 6-8 hours a day, including class time. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Apr. 8, 2004, 12:37 PM
"I have to agree with you - at some point it takes its toll physically on those who try to sustain that pace. Some people can take more than others, but at some point you just have to hit the brick wall."

msghook, tireless sidebar? I think that comment makes my point, as does this entire thread. Consider the following hypo:

Job Applicant A has disabilities that require daily therapuetic riding activity (time at the barn), and the coordination and visual-spatial timing one gets from activities like jumping and showing (time away from the office). Applicant A needs a modified schedule for that, as well as can only work 3/4 time, needs several types of accommmodations atypical of the type of law firm work being posted on this thread, telecommuting, flex scheduling, lets even throw in dictation assistive technology, large print, a real-time transcription device when in hearings. What one of the law firms posted about here is going to hire Applicant A?

If the ADA is invoked, every one of them would have the responsibility to do so, just as much as Ruth Bader Ginsberg deserved a legal position in a top law firm out of law school without having to trade sexual groping or sex- for-job-promotion, or Thurgood Marshall deserved to be hired without having to use a separate bathroom and lunchroom for "coloreds." It is a matter of perspective some people don't want to hear, that those of us with disabilities believe we have the equal right to have top law firm opportunities, and Yes, some of the traditional "way things have always been done" have to give way as violating civil rights as much as groping and 'separate but equal.' The exclusion against Thurgood Marshall was so great that as a Supreme Court Justice, lawyers arguing before him believed he was the bellboy in the elevator of the Supreme Court Building on his way to his chambers, and felt the need to tip him. Things like all nighters, putting in non-billable hours, expecing 2000 + hours of billable time, even the hours expected to be on law review during law school, many others -- all of these policies and practices could be struck down in a heartbeat by a disability challenge as they are EXCLUSIONARY. Is the legal profession so sacrosanct that it alone does not have to change and restructure to allow a group of people historically excluded to be a part of that profession?

There is at least one law review article that actually views requiring disability accommodations as a plus rather than a minus -- unless you are assigned to a constitutionally required speedy trial, the article states that a person requiring double-extra time, for example, would be an asset to a law firm because the firm can double the time allowed for responses, hearings, etc. because the law firm, the opponents, as well as the Courts have the obligation to accommodate. So why do so many people kill themselves to fit into this profession until they "hit the proverbial brick wall," when it doesn't have to be that way? If law firms hired more M.B.A.'s and tech savvy creative people, it would be possible to restructure this profession by restructuring work tasks, but then maybe there is a subtle wealth accummulation/wealth shifting inherent in maintaining the status quo in the profession to exclude people like me (43,000,000 Americans with disabilities like me, 42 U.S.C. section 12101(a)), so that others like those whom are exemplified on this board while working like dogs can have all the opportunities because they are physically stronger than those of us whom are excluded because we are weaker. Which brings up the real point -- is the legal profession only open to a real life playing-out of Darwin's survival of the fittest? A concept diametrically opposed to the ADA and all other disability laws and international human rights treaties.

I know my perspective, shared (like it or not) by many many others just like me, is not a popular one, but my response is that we are a Nation where the rule of law, not the rule of men prevails -- and the rule of law, like it or not, includes those laws protecting and enhancing the opportunities available for people with disabilities.

Whatever those folks like msghook have to say and however much they believe discrimination and exclusion are a 'pointless sidebar' taking up 5 pages, people with disabilities do not agree. I for one, do not lack the courage to take up that challenge, and have actually done so in a federal lawsuit, in which I will be requesting judicial notice be taken of everything written on this thread as exemplifying why the legal profession must be ordered by a federal court to effect change. No family life? No activities outside of work for disabilities? Work until you drop or die? I think there are rules of law against this, and msghook, we will see how it goes and whom the federal courts agree with no matter how long it takes to get there.

The funny thing is, I know many of those who do not agree with me would be the first, if those like me prevail oneday, to welcome the changes that more time with children, family, pets and animals, a balanced life outside work would bring.

Someday, when my challenge is at that place procedurally, my case will be granted certiorari and the importance of the concerns I have raised will be up for legimite debate -- I know this as certainly as I knew I would achieve my National HOTY in the face of all those naysayers whom told me I could never do it because I was too disabled and too poor. Thank God, my trainer, Ronnie Mutch always believed in me, because he taught me the most important lesson of all -- you can be whatever you want to be and achieve whatever you want to achieve no matter how impossible the odds.

Apr. 12, 2004, 06:10 PM
I am just finishing my finishing my first year of law school ...WHOOO 3 more days of class!
I love law school, but I KNOW what I'm doing with the degree. It is a full time job, in SC you have to be a full time student every semester to sit for the bar exam ... so that's 16 credit hours of class plus all the homework that goes with it. I am one of two serious horse-girls in the 1L class. The other girl has her horses at her trainer's and goes home on weekends to ride and show (granted, she is doing 'A' shows). I keep my horses at my dad's house, he feeds mornings and I feed & ride most afternoons. I just bought a 3-year-old that I have been training, no showing yet. He is very smart, and it's a good thing because some days I am just too tired to do as much as I should with him.
You'd be surprised what you can make time for if you really want to. Riding and law school are both HUGE time and energy commitments, and VERY expensive. People always ask me how I do both ... simple, nothing gets done as thoroughly as it should.
First, you should think about why you want to go to law school and what you would do with that degree. Then consider you individual financial situation; student loans for school, being without regular income, and of corse what it cost you to ride, depending if you own a horse and where you keep it, and if you plan to show during the school year. Next, consider what a career in the law would mean (mostly, 60+ hour work weeks) and how that would affect your non-career goals.
A law degree is very useful, and the knowledge is very impowering. BUT you have to be able to stay motivated through the long haul. The years of law school are a frustrating experience, so be certain that you want what you would be getting into.
Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions SCbelle33@hotmail.com

Apr. 12, 2004, 07:49 PM
Wow. I'm glad to see that this thread has taken on a positive life of its own. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif I didn't realize there were quite so many practicing attorneys in the horse world.

Again, thanks to everyone for your input.


Blue Devil
May. 18, 2004, 07:36 PM
Well I resurrected this thread from the dead, but I wanted some advice from particularly those recent undergraduates now in LS. Did any of you take a LSAT prep course? The Kaplan one? Or another class?

I need to take the October LSAT (I will be abroad spring 2005 interning in London and I will be working that summer, so for late summer/fall 2005 App dates, now is my time!) and so unfortunately I will be spending my Saturdays in some test center working on logic (well I like the games, but still) this summer, as I work M-F. Any of you notice any improvement in your scores? My diagnostic score was nearly 160 but I'd like to bring that up 10 points minimum (am I dreaming?). Any suggestions?

May. 18, 2004, 07:52 PM
Blue Devil-

I am going to be a 3L (YES!!!) this year. I did not take a "course" but I had a tutor. He did SAT and MCAT kids too, just one of those smart guys some Penn prof. Anyways, all he ever had me do was take test over and over and over again and then would go over my answers. Honestly, the HARDEST part about the LSAT is the time restriction. Anyone could figure out the questions if they had double the time, its the working under pressure thing that is killer. Honestly, if you don't have time to take a class, buy a book of old tests and just sit down and take them and be VERY strict about the timing. If you run out...fill in all C's or something like that and see what happens!! GOOD LUCK! Feel free to PT me!! BTW 160 is great....bringing it up 10 points is a big feat, but if you put your mind to it, you can do anything! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

May. 18, 2004, 09:24 PM
I didn't take a class, but I think it would be a great idea if you can swing it. A couple of my friends did take the Kaplan class and their scores improved a lot from start to finish. One of them went from 160 to 167. If nothing else, taking a class FORCES you to put in the hours that you should in terms of practice, especially considering the money you will spend on the class.

Classes are expensive, around $1000+, I think, but when you think of it in the long term that's not too bad. I wouldn't even notice another thousand on top of all of my student loans! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Good luck hitting 170! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

May. 18, 2004, 10:47 PM
Don't do it http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif I've been a lawyer since graduating from Georgetown Law School in 1988. The law can be stifling at times. By the time your up and running in the legal profession (years away) horses might be a distant memory. Before you take the pluge, and a pluge it is, open your mind wide open to all the other wonderful job possibilities. Good luck. sbock

playing cards
May. 19, 2004, 06:28 AM
Blue Devil-

I took Kaplan and it definetly helped me. My score went up 11 points. Think of it this way -- law schools give out so much scholarship money that if you invest $1000 in Kaplan, it could pay off in spades scholarship wise. I would say it "made" me $75,000 in the end. Without it, no full tuition scholarship, with it all of law school has been paid for, save living expenses. That of course requires applying to the appropriate schools for your score level. A 160 won't get you in or any money at Harvard, but would at lower ranked schools. Then again, a 175 would get you $$$$ at even the best schools. Definitely worth the investment for me. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Also, if you can stomach it, there is a very good bulletin board at www.xoxohth.com (http://www.xoxohth.com). Make sure you click on law once you get there otherwise you're on the UG board. PLEASE PLEASE don't impute the obnoxious, vile, biggoted threads to me, BUT, if you dig you will get some very good law school informationm. Some of the best students at the best schools are on that board, and will give you the real scoop about law school and how to succeed there. Also, there is a poster named 56NYlitigator who is a partner at an NYC firm that has given out some of the best advice about big firms that I've heard. He refers to himself as "zero sum game" also. But you have to watch out because he has a lot of impersonators! You'll be able to tell if it's him. His responses are not BS, and he always CAPS LIKE THIS the posters name that he's responding to. He's not on there too frequently, though. there is a thread right now entitled "56 (now nearly 57)Yr old litigator offers quid" that is very informative. Best of luck

May. 19, 2004, 07:37 AM
I highly recommend Kaplan. I scored very well (162) on my initial practice LSAT, but Kaplan really helped me improve. The "games" section was always easy for me, but I did less well on certain sections of reading comp., and other things. The big benefit of Kaplan, in my opinion,.. is that you will take many many practice tests, and they will really help you pinpoint the precise types of questions you tend to miss.

I was routinely scoring 172 on the practice tests by the end of the course... sadly, on "test day" whether it was nerves, or whatever, I blew the GAMES section, of all things! Thankfully though, I had improved enough in my weaker areas that I still scored very well.

Its worth the investment.

Now, whether law school is worth the investment is another story http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif. Only do it if you're pretty darn sure you want to be a lawyer. I "liked" law school more than almost anyone I knew... and its still a whole lot of pain and suffering if you're not there for the right reasons. Good luck http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

May. 19, 2004, 10:08 AM
I was wondering what your opinions are as to what kind of lawyer generally make the most money/year. I have heard corporate lawyers generally do, is this true?

May. 19, 2004, 12:32 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by eqnjumperrider:
I was wondering what your opinions are as to what kind of lawyer generally make the most money/year. I have heard corporate lawyers generally do, is this true? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Generally, associates at large firms (i.e. BigLaw) make the most. In NY and DC, typical starting salary is $125,000 across the board. (Bonuses may vary between firms, though firms tend to try to match each other).

Some very prestigious firms and/or boutiques may offer more, up to $135 or $140. To get a job at those places, you'll need to be a rock star (i.e. law review, clerkship in Court of Appeals or Sup.Ct.).

Within a biglaw firm, attorneys generally make the same salary for the first few years, regardless of department. (Salary does rise every year, across the board). In my (not unlimited) experience, I've never heard of a corporate attorney making making more at the same law firm than a tax attorney or employment attorney of the same year.

At www.infirmation.com, (http://www.infirmation.com,) you'll find a link to salary charts.

In terms of overall career prospects, attorneys with substantial experience in a hard science (i.e. B.A. in electrical engineering) and/or who are admitted to the patent bar tend to be most in demand (and thus may be able to negotiate the best pay packages in the long run).

And, returning to an earlier issue raised here, from what I've seen, trust and estates attorneys tend to have the most predictable work loads.

If you want to go in-house eventually, focus on employment law, patent law, transactions (i.e. corporate), tax, or government contracts.

May. 19, 2004, 12:59 PM
If I had to do it again, I'd be a tax lawyer.

Those guys rule the world.

playing cards
May. 19, 2004, 02:14 PM
Really? that's what I want to do - tax. Are you kidding or why do you say that? Studying for my international tax final right now.

May. 19, 2004, 02:38 PM
Tax lawyers drive deals. What you can or cannot do depends on what the tax lawyer says you can or cannot do.

If you are good at your job (as a tax lawyer), it will take you about five seconds to jump from a law firm to a Wall Street banking job or an in-house business job.

Deal-making you can learn on the fly. Tax stuff? Not so much.

playing cards
May. 19, 2004, 02:49 PM
Really...that's interesting. I've always heard that tax lawyers are warned that the "tax tail should not wag the dog." The impression that I have gotten is that the tax department is largely a service department, brought in by the corporate people when needed, and that tax lawyers are dependent on the corporate department for work, i.e. largely secondary in the deal process. Good to know!

May. 19, 2004, 03:15 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by playing cards:
I've always heard that tax lawyers are warned that the "tax tail should not wag the dog." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
The reality is that, at the end of the day, the tax tail absolutely wags the dog. The client can want whatever they want. But what we can actually DO will depend on the tax implications of the structure of the deal.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The impression that I have gotten is that the tax department is largely a service department, brought in by the corporate people when needed, and that tax lawyers are dependent on the corporate department for work, i.e. largely secondary in the deal process. Good to know! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
In theory, the tax folks are depending on the corporate department for work. In reality, however, there are so few really, really good and really, really smart tax lawyers that the corporate lawyers are actually reduced to groveling before the few good tax lawyers at the firm. At least that was my experience.

I have never known a tax lawyer who was laid off. Nor have I known a tax lawyer who didn't get a job because of gender or race issues. It is too hard to find really good tax folks.

(Edited to add: I actually know of one tax lawyer who was fired. He was fired for behavioral issues that he should have been fired for YEARS ago. (He probably should have been slapped, but that is a different story.) He wasn't fired until recently, however, because he was so good.)

playing cards
May. 19, 2004, 03:50 PM
Sorry, I hope this doesn't sound naive, but what separates a really good tax lawyer from not good? Is it finding a way to eliminate taxes v. not being able to do so, enabling the deal to work the way people want it to by finding a way to make it work tax wise v. not being able to do that, having credentials v. not, large firm tax lawyer v. small firm tax lawyer, or none of the above?

Also, just for reference are you speaking from a big, mid, or small law perspective? I only ask because I've heard that big firms are the only places that really have the resources and work to train tax lawyers. Thanks for the great advice!

May. 19, 2004, 08:43 PM
Has anyone else had the experience of getting a good score on the Kaplan Diagnostic but scoring well below (say, 10 points) on the full published older LSATs? I've been told that Kaplan often makes up their own questions to avoid paying publishing royalties to the LSAC, so the diagnostic might not be reflective of your performance on the real thing. Not sure if that's true, but you may want to take a full test published by LSAC to use as your baseline score. I've taken 2 full-length LSATs now and haven't scored anywhere near the Kaplan Diagnostic, so now I'm definitely worried about taking the real thing.

I'm currently taking an LSAT prep course from a company called Powerscore. It's the least expensive one ($1095) yet offers almost twice the amount of class hours as the well-known companies. It's a lot of work! I'm employed full-time and haven't been able to complete all the homework between classes. I struggle to find time to ride just twice a week now (keeping this horse-related http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif ).

If you're at all worried about the money to take a prep course, I've noticed that you can find cheaper courses in the Continuing Education dept. of your local university, but I'm sure it's hard to judge their quality.

Wish me luck for my June 14th test! I'll let you know what I think about my prep course after I get my score http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

May. 19, 2004, 09:29 PM
My Business Law prof (who does mostly contracts) said his job is great (he likes the intricacies) since he is helping with the "meeting of the minds", i.e. preventing some other lawyer from cleaning up the mess afterwards.

He said tax lawyers (many of whom got their accountant's degree first) are so well-paid and in demand b/c they have to learn all the new tax laws every year. Basically, they have to be accountants and lawyers.

davidgud - equestrian jihad
May. 20, 2004, 01:56 AM
Tracy - one thing you might want to look at is the University of London (England) External Program.

They have a fully fledged Law Degree that you can do by distance. (British LLB equivalent to JD in the U.S.)

I received my acceptance for this program last Autumn. I haven't officially started yet (you have 2 years to start the program from the time you have received an offer)

There are two, three and four year programs depending upon your qualifications and also how much time you have to study (ie; if you already have a degree in something else, they'll take that into consideration.)

It's a very good idea to get some of the Law Books first and start doing the readings/familiarization process before actually starting the program. I've been reading Law Books for this degree for the past year and a half now.

Another option is to do part of the degree by distance and do part of it in London if you so wish.

Obviously its very very difficult. It's mostly self study and then exams each year.

I stress that this is a full Law Degree - and from a highly reputable school.

www.londonexternal.ac.uk (http://www.londonexternal.ac.uk)

If you're interested talk to them or email me.

David G./Seoul

May. 20, 2004, 04:30 PM
David G -- do you know if the University of London has an LLM in international treaties and customary international law that one can do by computer from the US? And appx. tuition US dollars? I would be very interested if you happen to know. I do already have some international taxation background, and M.B.A. with quite a bit of accounting (enough to sit for US CPA exam), and a lot of international law. (Already have a J.D.)

Thanks, CP

davidgud - equestrian jihad
May. 21, 2004, 08:31 PM
Cello's Pride!! Hi, give me 3 or so days to get back to you with respect to your questions. It's now the weekend and I cannot contact London until Monday their time.

I can tell you that they do have an LLM - they specifically told me NOT to attempt this at this time because I have never formally studied Law before!!

With respect to International Law, I can tell you this - they do have a section that focuses a great deal on EU Law. EU Law both in LLB and LLM.

I haven't taken a hard look at the LLM however since I was warned off it, so I'll have to do some looking and also talk to London so I'll get back to you.

On another note, I want to thank all the Law People here for the very interesting and very/extremely helpful posts.

That's the great deal thing about equestrian - we're the Borg, http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif


Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
May. 22, 2004, 06:42 PM
Davidgud -
LOL, undoubtedly I've read too much Dick Francis in my life (can there be such a thing??), but your saying you've been "warned off" LLM gives me an image of you being hauled up before the stewards, and being "warned off" of/for aggressive race riding..
Same phrase, highly different usage, eh??

davidgud - equestrian jihad
May. 23, 2004, 08:29 PM
You know Jeannette, I think all of us here use riding terms in other contexts all the time . . . for example, way back when, when I was a kid, I was watching Jane Fonda doing her aerobics thing one day. After briefly watching her bouncing around on the TV, I said to my MOm: "You know, she's going to have soundness problems. My mom said "soundness problems"??? I said "sure. This aerobics thing is like jumping, every horse has only so much jump"

In the same context, when I take time off from weight training each year (usually for a month in December and also in July), I usually tell my (horsey) family, that "I'm turning myself out to grass for a month" . . . I read many years ago in a book called "Horseman's Bedside Book" that the Italians consider the British practice of turning horses out to grass for a month or two each year as a typical English madness!!


Jun. 1, 2004, 10:23 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by linquest:
I'm currently taking an LSAT prep course from a company called Powerscore. It's the least expensive one ($1095) yet offers almost twice the amount of class hours as the well-known companies. It's a lot of work! I'm employed full-time and haven't been able to complete all the homework between classes. I struggle to find time to ride just twice a week now (keeping this horse-related http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif ).

If you're at all worried about the money to take a prep course, I've noticed that you can find cheaper courses in the Continuing Education dept. of your local university, but I'm sure it's hard to judge their quality.

Wish me luck for my June 14th test! I'll let you know what I think about my prep course after I get my score http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Good luck!

I didn't end up going to law school... but did take the LSAT, and found that using old LSATs to practice on was prep enough... (I took three of them, self-administered under test conditions, pretty much)

And I did get a *very* good score on the real thing... so I'd be interested to see what you think of the prep course... I kind of wondered if I would have done better had I taken one, as was suggested by most of the advisors at my college... I didn't notice much difference in my testing abilities after SAT prep in high school, so I'm curious about this *wink*

Jan. 9, 2005, 09:54 PM
Interesting thread.

I went into law, thinking it would be an avenue to have riding opportunities due to the income, as compared to my more limited junior riding days when parents might not have had the financial ability to support riding at a certain level.

However, now that I'm here (typical BigLaw associate), I find that I ride less than when I was a junior. When I was a junior, I may not have been able to have a fancy horse or show as often as I would have liked, but at least you have the time. Now, I ride 0-1 times per week.

And, as the first poster mentioned, student loans are insane. I pay four figures per month on my student loans (and that's just law school, never mind undergrad).

I drive an '88 Chevrolet and live in a bachelor unit with no heat and no kitchen. That is the reality. But from the outside, you would think 'Wow, six figure job! Wow, went to one of the top two law schools!" It's not so glamorous when 80% of your salary goes to taxes and student loans and you're working really long hours and look like you're in your late thirties when you're actually in your late twenties.

Sorry to sound negative, I just found that I spent years working towards this job as a way to further my riding, only to find that I still can't go do the A circuit or anything like that, due to time issues and student loans.

Things will either get better or I will make a change.

Madame Butterfly
Jan. 9, 2005, 10:13 PM
I take the 5th.
The 4th.
The 1st.

And drinkkkkkk em all. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

Jan. 10, 2005, 06:31 PM
MB- no kidding, way too much to respond to.

To the original poster, don't go to law school or strive to be a lawyer unless it is something that you have always wanted to do and you know that it will make you happy. It is an amazing career, affords so much to me personally (and I am not talking just about the financial rewards)...but it is a very challenging and demanding career (if you want to do it well).

For a few of the other posters, in house positions are not a five second thing to get. We have hundreds of people vying for top jobs and if you are lucky enough to be "the one", you breathe a sigh of relief and your life changes. Doesn't mean you always get to ride more, but it does mean that you have a little more control over your schedule. That, in my opinion, is a great thing.

Madame Butterfly
Jan. 10, 2005, 08:16 PM
Okay, Esq., I just take a 1/10th pint... http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

Jan. 11, 2005, 11:23 AM
I second
MadameButterfly's motion. CARider,ahh, but that is the dilemma. But, why not be a bit creative, take a few foreign language classes (helps with horse purchases), and use your legal background to put together big money syndicates to purchase horses, retaining syndication "rider" control in yourself? Then you can have your Cake and Eat it Too, holding Court at the stable to take charge of your fiduciary duties to your steeds, so to speak. Now THAT would be a life.

As far as tax lawyers, it has not been my experience tax lawyers per se have any type of real business or accounting background at all, in the sense one sitting for a CPA exam or obtaining an MBA would have it. This is why the tax law departments of corporations and law firms rush to hire people who have achieved these joint JD/MBA degrees. The two are not interchangeable, either, as accountants really do not acquire the skills to roll up the sleeves and do the tax law research, plowing thru the Code, rules, regs, rulings, bulletins, private letters, etc. It is a very hard job if you do have both types of degrees and backgounds to do the job of a tax lawyer well. And a never ending job, taking up all spare time. I was very good in that area, but have not chose to follow that road, although I do find international tax and finance (e.g. minimizing taxes between 3-4 Countries and tax havens for 3-4 lines of different products and services, including foreign currency exchanges) to be extremely fascinating, a subject I could read on and on about like one reads a good novel. But I don't get to do that very often, as I have to make time to ride the horse.

Jan. 11, 2005, 11:47 AM
Let *me* be the last lawyer to chime in... because last time I posted on this thread I wasn't one yet!!! Now I am! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I am managing to do the horse thing and be a biglaw associate at the same time. I have had to compromise on what I do (I don't lesson as much as I'd like or show as much as I used to) but I am okay with that. I get out about 6-7 days/week to ride. If I get out less it's because the of the uncooperative weather. And I don't beat myself up about being competitive-- I ride for fun and I set my goal according to my time.

I am able to do this, in part, because I chose the RIGHT bigfirm and the RIGHT city. Everyone I know in NYC at biglaw doesn't have this lifestyle. On the other hand, people I know in smaller cities have even more flexibility. It's all about finding the RIGHT firm for you. Where I am is perfect for my lifestyle. I just wish the traffic/weather were better here http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jan. 11, 2005, 12:20 PM
vxf111 - looks like we are in the same profession in the same city. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I am a partner (for two weeks now - still getting used to it!) in a small boutique firm with 7 lawyers. Just like many of the posters above have said, I have never been able to ride or show as much as I would like since joining a firm after law school. I don't think that will change much now that I'm a partner - I really don't think my workload is going to be any different (and certainly not any lighter!).

I agree totally with the spirit of what Esquire said above - don't go to law school unless you are truly excited about the law and all of the challenges and opportunities it offers you. I know more than a few lawyers who are very unhappy in their jobs and feel as if they are "golden handcuffed". I feel lucky everyday that I love my job and enjoy going to work every morning!

Jan. 11, 2005, 08:36 PM
Toast to the lawyers and many other professionals who can still find the time to fit "riding" in. For each of us, it is a challenge and depending upon our work/family/personal situations, I am sure we do what we can to get out there, ride, show, etc. Just read through many of the other responses on this subject and just want to say that I admire so many who are still able to find the time to continue making horses a meaningful part of their lives. It is a choice that you have made and GOOD for you!!

I, for one, have pictures all over my office of my various horses, trainer, horse friends, etc. There is a space reserved for family for sure, but by and large, if you walked into my office you would take a step back after seeing the horse photos. Hey, also a good conversation piece. When a male lawyer I am out with asks me about "playing golf", I say "how about riding?" I know, just a stereotype, but...

Jan. 12, 2005, 09:59 AM
I work at a "BigLaw" firm, but I chose a humane one which is always on the lists of "best places to work" and it shows. I still have time to ride and would have more time to ride if I didn't read the boards here :-) but I manage and I know I can afford whatever comes along with my horses. I do not get to lesson as much or show as much because of the odd hours I keep, but I still get to love my horses and spend time with them. Chose your firm wisely. ALthough I work for a top law firm, it is slightly below the top of the top of the pay scale, but trust me, getting 10k a year more wasn't worth it to me. I have a great life and time to spend with my animals and friends.