Is there such a thing as an equine lawyer? I'm still in college, trying to figure out a plan, and since my lawyer dad would love me to follow in his footsteps, thought about incorporating the horses into it. Is this a successful field, if a field at all?
It's actually a really interesting area of law with a lot of change going on. Historically animals have been considered property, so damages in the event of a loss were limited to purchase price/market value. Individual states are starting to revisit this assumption so where you live/study may impact the opportunities.
Do some Google searches on veterinary malpractice law, equine law & equine veterinary malpractice. I had an issue with my horse last year and found a couple of good resources/contacts this way.
When you practice in a specific area of law over time you become proficient at it. There are various legal issues which are specific to equine affairs such as boarding, breeding, leasing, transporting, selling, etc. For example, I would have to spend hours researcing to competently draw up a boarding contract as I have never done one. But by doing these things over and over you become really proficient at them. Often learning by your mistakes. After a while you have developed a specialty in that area of the law, even if it is not something as easily recognized as say family law or criminal law.
How successful you are at it depends on how well you market yourself and how much of a demand there is for equine specific work in your area. Obviously trying to practice equine law in a boating community would not be profitable. If you really want to primarily focus on equine law you may be limited to specific areas of the country.
The great thing about the law if there are so many things you can do with it! Good luck with whatever you choose.
Law is a great and very versatile career. It opens a lot of possibilities - you can work for a big firm, a small firm, go solo, be in-house counsel, work for the government all the way from the Feds to the town council of East Jesus. I highly recommend it.
I was a marine science major in undergrad. So I thought I wanted to practice environmental law. Then I spent a summer clerking for an environmental law firm. ZOMG. Was nearly ded from teh boredoms by the time August rolled around.
In my career, I've done plaintiff's personal injury, criminal defense, zoning law, personal injury defense, and now I'm a family court lawyer (my favorite so far).
IOW, go to law school, by all means, but - equine law is a teensy tiny little specialty area that you may actually hate (personally I am allergic to contract law). So just keep that in mind.
To answer your question, yes, there are such things as equine lawyers. Last time I was in Southern Pines, I saw a sign for a whole firm of them. But I bet you'd have to be somewhere like Camden or Aiken or So Pines to find a whole practice devoted to it.
That being said, I have not heard of any law schools that have a specialty in equine law, although there maybe some that have courses in agricultural business law.
I don't think that there is enough work in the area, mostly because the horse profession is not a large enough or wealthy enough segment of the business world to support a large number of professionals. Kentucky has the most, because of the racing and breeding industry. Aside from that, I know a couple of equine lawyers and they do it only as a subspecialty. For example, one represents real estate developers primarily, and has a subspecialty in equine law to mostly to represent barn owners and trainers in their real estate dealings. Like anything that is related to something that is done as a hobby, there are many people who would like to be in the field, but few clients and little work to support them.
"Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller