Q&A: A career in equine law

  • Expert advice from HORSE magazine on how to become an specialist equestrian lawyer

    Q: I am interested in a career as an equestrian lawyer. What qualifications do I need and can you explain more about the job?

    Lesley Willis replies: Legal executives and solicitors are really the general practitioners of law, dealing with court work daily.

    Barristers are more specialist and are consulted by legal executives andsolicitors if they are needed.

    To qualify as a legal executive you’ll need to undertake a four year course at college or by home study.

    For more details contact the Institute of Legal Executives, Kempston Manor, Kempston, Bedford MK42 7AB. Tel: (01234) 841 000.

    To qualify as a solicitor, you may qualify as a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives first and then study as a qualified solicitor.

    Again, more details can be found at the Institute of Legal Executives.

    Alternatively, you could choose to do a law degree at university, which is usually a three-year course.

    After obtaining a law degree, you would need to do a further one-year LPC (Legal Practice Course) and then two years ‘on the job’ as a trainee.

    The trainee solicitor would normally work for six months in four departments.

    At the end of the contract, the trainee should apply for a job if they are not lucky enough to be kept on by the firm where they are training.

    To become a barrister you’d need to do a three-year law degree, then a one-year full time course (BVC) before applying to barristers’ chambers for a year’s training contract.

    As far as I am aware, there is no specific qualification to practice in equine law, or any firms who practice in equine matters only.

    It’s more likely those cases are dealt with as part of the practice. However, a lawyer with experience of equine matters can become a member of the Equine Lawyers Association (EQUAL) – a network of solicitors with equine litigation experience.

    I think most lawyers wouldn’t know much about horses and my own horsey experience has helped considerably. I work in the personal injury department of a firm and deal mainly with compensation claims for injuries arising out of accidents.

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