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Law School and Riding and Showing

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  • Law School and Riding and Showing

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

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

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

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

    Comment


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

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

      ETA: Since it came up below (enjoying this thread while I eat my lunch today), I did law review, and moot court, and got pretty decent grades, so it can be done, you just have to budget your time wisely. Law review, by the way, was a total waste of time, other than it probably helped me get my first Big Law job (which I hated, but that's a whole 'nother story).
      Last edited by MoonRiver5; Jun. 2, 2011, 12:33 PM.
      Tucker the Wunderkind

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      • #4
        It depends. Where are you going to law school? I went to the University of Virginia, class of 1991, and rode and showed all three years. I didn't have my own horse the first year, bought a three-year-old that summer. Also got to ride other people's horses and worked with several excellent trainers. I had pretty good grades, got a federal clerkship, and had offers from top law firms. But watch out - in my experience, being an associate in a law firm is way more grueling than law school!

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

        Comment


        • #5
          Law school will take as much take time and energy as you are willing to commit to it. Personally, I wasn't willing to put the rest of my life on hold, and I was willing to accept that I didn't do every shred of reading assigned in every class.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by AffirmedHope View Post
            Can it be done? I will be starting law school next fall and I want to know from the lawyers on board if riding and showing can still be done during these grueling 3 years. I'm talking riding maybe three times a week and showing once or twice every couple of months. All I have to go on right now are the "horror" stories from others about how they pretty much ate, slept, studied and went to class, with no time for other activities. How did you do it?
            I attended law school M-W, skipped any Thurs classes and went to go ride my horses who lived a 5 hour drive away Thurs-Sun. My horses were not ready for rated shows at the time but we hit the local shows pretty much every weekend.

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

            Oh, and forget law review.
            Biggest waste of time ever. Couldn't be happier that I skipped it entirely (to the jaw dropped amazement of my friends) and went to go ride instead.
            The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
            Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
            Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
            The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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            • #7
              Depends on a bunch of things but, yes, it can be done.
              I rode about 5 days a week during law school but that was possible because the barn was about 10 minutes from my house and I was a pretty good time manager. You cannot study every waking minute so spend your free time riding- discobold is right, finding time to ride/compete is much harder after graduation if you go the biglaw route.
              I did not show during law school but I had a friend who did jumpers and his owners flew him down to Florida to compete their horses most weekends. I have no idea how he did it, but he did it at a top 15 law school and with good grades.
              There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)

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              • #8
                Absolutely! I graduated from law school in 2010. Not only did I ride/show/hunt, we owned our own farm, and I had a 1.5 hr commute each way.

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

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

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                • #9
                  Absolutely!

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

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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    First, you will be healthier and saner if you can continue your non-academic passions in Law School by getting outside and working out. (I ran 40 miles a week--no horses possible for economic reasons).

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

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

                    As everyone says, you will have more riding time/energy as a law student then you will as a lawyer!
                    At all times, we are either training or untraining.
                    Flying Haflinger blog: http://flyinghaflinger.blogspot.com/ Flying Irish Draught blog: http://flyingirishredhead.blogspot.com/

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                    • #11
                      Agree with everything busylady said. I went to a top tier school, rode 5-6 days a week, interned my 2L and 3L year, and was on a journal those years as well. I mostly rode in the mornings before class (at the barn by 7am or so, so not even crazy early). It really is just about time management, which is a good skill to have as a lawyer anyway!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I did not ride in law school -- but in retrospect I wish I had. I think it would have been doable, especially as a 3L.

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

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

                        Have a great 3 years in law school -- I did! It's an incredible experience, and I made some of the best friends I will ever have in my life there. As an earlier poster noted, don't let yourself get dragged into the p*ssing contest of who studied more, yada, yada, yada. It will just needlessly mess with your head.
                        Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          PhD in physics, here, with a question:

                          What the heck is Law Review?
                          Originally posted by tidy rabbit
                          Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TarheelJD View Post
                            If you think you want to go to Big Law after graduation, absolutely do not bypass the opportunity to do law review in order to make time for riding. My firm used to hire 50-60 summer associates a year, now it is less than 10. The market is so competitive that we've turned down applicants that are in the top of their class at T1 schools. All of our 2011 Summers are law review. I doubt we even interviewed anyone who wasn't.
                            .
                            I agree with this -- I would not purposefully pass up law review in this market, if you have the opportunity. I was not on law review but was EIC of a specialty journal and had plenty of time for that in addition to riding six times a week. I did not do clinicals but did all my reading for class, etc. But it is a huge time sink -- to fit in the journal management I was in the journal office at 6 a.m. and home at midnight, with time out to ride and go to enough parties to get to know other people, a key aspect of law school as well.

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

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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ExJumper View Post
                              PhD in physics, here, with a question:

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

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
                                Law school will take as much take time and energy as you are willing to commit to it. Personally, I wasn't willing to put the rest of my life on hold, and I was willing to accept that I didn't do every shred of reading assigned in every class.
                                This.

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

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

                                A few notes from my experience...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                                  I can do about anything for 3 years without burnout. Then you get to start working, which is so different than law school that you can get at least another 3 years before burnout at that, even if you are working insane hours. Then you can start thinking about what you are going to do that is more sustainable.
                                  Personally (and yes, I did the Ivy->Big Law route), I would caution against spending 6 years of your adult life doing something relentlessly unless you really want to do it.

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

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

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

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

                                  Please do not fall into the trap.
                                  The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                                  Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                                  Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                                  The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                                    Student-run academic journals. Law professors' writings are generally published there instead of by peer review. Lots of flaws to that system but it is what it is. They are generally manned by the top of the class, with a few "write-on" spots, or a combination of grades and writing competition which is how my school did it (no grade-ons at my school but most on law review were in fact the top of the class).
                                    Yup. To add to this, in most schools, there are three ways to get onto Law Review:

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

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

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

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

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


                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Hey, hey, hey, there seem to be a lot of busy high-powered lawyers with lots of time to spend on COTH (laughing at myself too, less anyone get offended )

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                        Personally (and yes, I did the Ivy->Big Law route), I would caution against spending 6 years of your adult life doing something relentlessly unless you really want to do it.

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

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

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

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

                                        Please do not fall into the trap.
                                        I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but this was pretty much my experience, too, though I lasted a lot longer than 3 years in Big Law.

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

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


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