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  1. #1
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    Nov. 14, 2003
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    IA
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    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.

    Tracy
    Proud owner of a blind horse.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 14, 2003
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    IA
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    108

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    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.

    Tracy
    Proud owner of a blind horse.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 2, 2002
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    6,221

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    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!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    http://community.webshots.com/user/madisonav




  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 17, 2002
    Location
    Washington (the State)
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    202

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    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



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2001
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    442

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    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_c...icon_smile.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...icon_smile.gif



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2001
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    6,819

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    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.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2004
    Posts
    367

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    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.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2001
    Location
    New York, NY
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    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.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2004
    Location
    McAlpin, Florida
    Posts
    25

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    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_c.../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_c...icon_smile.gif



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2001
    Posts
    5,085

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    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.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 2, 2002
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    6,221

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    <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/cu...milies/lol.gif He comes on weekdays.

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

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    http://community.webshots.com/user/madisonav




  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2002
    Location
    my desk
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    861

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    <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.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 1999
    Location
    Cypress, near Houston, Texas
    Posts
    8,419

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    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 - breeding Hanoverian, Knabstrupper and Arabian sport horses.&lt;BR&gt;
    "Find something you love & call it work."
    Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 19, 2000
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    The Old Dominion
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    4,405

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    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
    ___________________________
    Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2000
    Location
    Southern Pines, N.C.
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    11,422

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    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_c...s/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_c...on_biggrin.gif
    "I used to have money, now I have horses."



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2004
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    66

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    ...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.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 15, 2001
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    4,691

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    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/cu...milies/yes.gif

    ~formerly Master Tally~



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2004
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,004

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    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_c...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...
    "Horses give us the wings we lack"



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 17, 2004
    Posts
    68

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    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/cu...milies/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/cu...ilies/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.]



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2000
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    403

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    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.



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