Any attorneys here? Looking for community!

Despite my username (now 12 years old…), I am (im)patiently awaiting my bar exam results and am starting in BigLaw later this month. Through my browsing here, I’ve noticed what seems like many lawyers who regularly comment. Just wanted to say “hi” and maybe solicit any wisdom/advice on how to keep horses and riding prioritized as a working attorney (e.g., is it possible/wise to convey that horse time is as important for me as child time is for others?).

As for me, I am active on the A and AA H/J circuits (and managed to do it through law school as a working student to minimize costs) and once was and soon will be again showing at USDF-recognized dressage shows.

I’ve been in house the last 12 years so I don’t know if the culture has changed, but in my day the prevailing wisdom was you don’t mention either family time or hobbies as an associate.
It varies by practice area, but generally yes the hours are brutal. But my trainer, who went to law school in the evening while training full time, still events her own horses and maintained several clients while working in a litigation group in big law so it can be done!

It’s possible it’s changed, or just that my firm (a V20 firm but in a smaller-market location) is just more relaxed. The hiring partner made a point of asking about my hobbies when I interviewed because (allegedly) they “like people to have interests outside of work.” The partner of my future practice group always asks about my horse. :slight_smile: So maybe (hopefully…) I lucked out.

I could have written your post! I just started Friday at a big law firm in a secondary market. In the corporate group. Hoping to squeeze in riding my horse at least once during the week and on the weekends. I am waiting to show again until the end of November while I figure things out.

Good luck!

I have more…lofty (crazy? :crazy_face:) aspirations… Planning to ride three weeknights and once on the weekend. Wish me luck. Feel free to DM if you’d like to stay in touch IRL or have a support group :joy:

Back when I was in BigLaw (in-house now), I made it known that I left “early,” i.e., 5:30pm, on Wednesdays for a standing lesson.

Leaving “early” on Fridays was a given, so I rode Fridays, too. And Sat and Sun.

My husband was a saint for not expecting me home before 9pm most nights.

And then, after 15 years in private practice, I moved in-house and was able to go to the barn everyday! Never looked back!

Should have mentioned that I was a litigator so when cases were close to or on trial, all bets were off. Then I was lucky to ride 1x/week.

I had one trial that lasted 5 weeks and I basically lived in a hotel next to the firm. This was back when I was still just taking lessons and didn’t have my own horse. I didn’t ride for over six weeks. When I went back, it took me about half an hour to remember diagonals. :slight_smile:

Not a lawyer, but an adult professional.

IME you prioritize horses by staying silent at work about the fact you are prioritizing horses. Or any hobby. The last thing you want is anyone at work starting to wonder if you are spending too much time at the barn.

Unfortunately professional women often don’t get the opportunity to even say that they prioritize their children. It’s still a loaded subject. Women do lose out on career paths because of maternity leave etc.

Don’t ever even hint to a woman with children that your horse is in any way a similar commitment. Even if it feels like it to you. First, it’s not really, since you can’t sell your children or send them out on free lease or pasture if they get annoying. But second most mothers especially ones with careers are feeling extremely stressed long term all the time and will quickly go hostile at anything you say about anything involving parenting beyond sympathetic noises.

No employer in the world enjoys thinking that your hobby matters more than your paid job. That’s true from entry level fast food right on up the ladder. You are not going to get cut any slack by comparing yourself to parents.


Awesome! Feel free to pm me any time! I’ve been in biglaw for 13 years (still at the firm I started at straight out of school). I’ve ridden 4-6 days a week throughout my career (except when I was actually on trial :slight_smile:) I didn’t always sleep as much as I would have liked, but I made it work. It’s part luck, part working in a good place for good people, part organization, part geography (reducing commute times and choosing your housing and barn locations carefully), and part being good at the job (so you can get more done in less time).

1 Like

Totally agree. If I take leave for an appointment I never provide clarity it is my animals appointment. If I have an animal emergency crop up it’s a family emergency. The use of time is the same in the end but there’s a lot more understanding when it isn’t something that’s seen as an optional hobby.

I knew fairly early that large cities and BigLaw weren’t for me. Horses were for me… if you’re in a big city that means commuting, high cost of living, less flexibility.

There are lots of different paths out there. I decided to work in smaller towns - my commute from home to work has varied from approx. 5-15 minutes and home to barn between 0-25 minutes.

Of course my first couple years I had to prove to the bosses that I was dedicated and hard-working but that meant occasional long days and weekend work, not 70 hours/ week.

Whenever opportunities came up where I could make significantly more money, that came with a likewise expectation of more hours at the office, or more commuting, or more expensive cost of living. I know I am paid significantly less than people in the big city but I am my own boss, I choose a lot of my hours, I take time off for lessons, farrier, clinics and shows. I put all of these into my calendar and I rarely allow a clash of a trial and a horse show :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: I’ll never be rich because I keep spending money on horses, but that’s ok with me :grin:

I’m an attorney too! I started in BigLaw for a few years and then have been in house for the last 4 years. It’s not always easy to make it work, but you can do it if you prioritize. When I was in BigLaw, I often rode at 6:30am to make sure I could get it in before work. My office’s culture was to come in around 9-10 and work late, so nobody really noticed my schedule being different. There were times I was on particularly busy deals or where I found I needed to prioritize sleep so I didn’t get as many rides in, but it was mostly doable. That being said, it’s a hell of a lot easier in the job I have now where I don’t answer to clients who are paying an incredibly high hourly rate. My boss is really understanding, and so I’m able to block my calendar for 2-3 hours in the middle of the day to go ride, and then work earlier or later when needed.

My best recommendation is to do what you can to limit commute time. It was the easiest for me to ride when I lived 5 minutes from my office and 13 minutes from the barn. I was able to get as much sleep as possible by rolling out of bed and being at the barn within 30 minutes of opening my eyes, and it was a lot less stressful to be able to run back home and shower and get ready at home vs having to think about what I was going to wear in advance and packing a bag to get ready at the barn (I spent a very hot day in a sweater because I forgot another bra and a sports bra didn’t work with the shirt I packed).

My other big recommendation is to make sure you have a good barn and trainer that you trust so you’re not stressing over whether your horse is cared for when you do get busy and can’t make it out.

1 Like