{ Banner Image }

How to Hire an Equine Lawyer

How do you find the right lawyer for your equine-related legal matter? Here are some ideas:

Consider the Lawyer’s Expertise

Because of their expertise, lawyers with equine law expertise could potentially save money because they often can get the work done in less time than other lawyers. Their understanding of the industry and the terminology used within it might offer you a distinct advantage.

Lawyers who practice “equine law,” however, might lack specialized expertise for certain matters. For example, does your matter involve intricacies of municipal or real estate law, such as a zoning dispute with your township over your planned equestrian development? Does your matter involve a dispute with the IRS over your business tax deductions? Specialized matters could fall outside of the experience level of an “equine law” practitioner. Be sure to ask good questions.

Evaluate Credentials

In seeking the right lawyer for you, what matters is the lawyer’s ability, reputation, and capability of providing the type of assistance you seek at the price you are willing to pay. Information regarding lawyers and their qualifications is more accessible than ever through online sources such as www.martindale.com and www.avvo.com, which rate lawyers. Most lawyers also have websites. Ours are www.equinelaw.net, www.fershtmanlaw.com, and www.fosterswift.com.

Fee Arrangements

Lawyers work under a variety of fee arrangements. Common ones are:

Hourly Fee

In most legal matters, the lawyer charges you for each hour of time he or she spends on your matter. The hourly rate will vary according to the lawyer’s location, experience, reputation, expertise, and other factors.

When evaluating a lawyer’s fee, ask not only what he or she charges for each hour of work but also the increments of an hour for which you will be billed. If your lawyer charges $275 an hour and you are billed for a five-minute phone call, for example, you will pay $68.75 to the lawyer who bills on quarter-hour increments but only $27.50 to the lawyer who bills on the tenth of an hour.

Contingency Fee

Lawyer advertisements sometimes promise: “You pay no fee unless we collect.” This describes a contingency fee arrangement in which the lawyer’s fee is contingent on (a percentage of) what you collect from the other party through a judgment or settlement. Contingency fee arrangements are common in cases involving loss of or damage to something of substantial monetary value such as a personal injury case.

Flat Fee

To draft a basic equine-related contract, prepare a simple will, or handle an uncomplicated case, lawyers might be willing to work on a flat fee basis.


The lawyer might require that you pay a “retainer fee” before the work begins, which often represents your advance payment of several hours of legal work. Retainers vary with each lawyer and firm. Make sure to sign a written “retainer agreement” that addresses, among other things, whether the retainer is refundable.


Lawyers cost far less to help prevent disputes than to resolve them. With that in mind, sometimes the wisest decision is to hire a lawyer before a dispute occurs. For example, a lawyer can draft equine-related contracts and releases of liability or explain how the law impacts the hiring or termination of stable staff.

Hiring a lawyer is an important and expensive decision. Evaluate your lawyer carefully.

Categories: Employment

Photo of Julie I. Fershtman

is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 29 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www.equinelaw.info.

View All Posts by Author ›

Type the following characters: tango, three, six, hotel

* Indicates a required field.

Subscribe to RSS»
Get Updates By Email:

Our Equine law blog (and its author) in the news!

Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed by the State Bar of Michigan. The interview, which called Fershtman "Lawyer-Blogger," discussed our Equine Law Blog. We truly believe that this blog is the nation's most active blog serving the equine industry on equine law topics, and we thank you for visiting it. Read more here.

Julie Fershtman’s Recent and Upcoming Equine Law Speaking Engagements Include:

National Conference on Equine Law in Louisville, Kentucky on April 29, 2020. Topic will be on Waivers/Releases of Liability Involving Minor Participants. 

U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado on December 10, 2019. Topic will be on Equine Liability. 

IRMI Emmett J. Vaughan Agribusiness Conference (“AgriCon”) in Sacramento, CA (April 2019), and Richmond, VA (June 2019) and in Des Moines, IA (September 2019), on topics of “Equine Activity Liability Acts” and “Equine Mortality Insurance Disputes.”

National Conference on Equine Law in May 2019 in Lexington, KY, on the topic of “Equine Activity Liability Act Updates” and liabilities involving hosting of equine clinics. 

Agricultural Claims Conference in Kansas City, MO, in March 2019 on topics of “Loose Livestock Liabilities.”

2018 American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, on “Equine Mortality Coverage and Disputes.”

November 2018, American Horse Council webinar on “Equine Liability.”

Honors & Recognitions

Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has received these prestigious equine industry awards from respected equine organizations:

"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award" - American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Law Section Animal Law Committee

"Distinguished Service Award" - American Youth Horse Council

"Industry Service Award" - Michigan Equine Partnership

"Catalyst Award"- Michigan Horse Council

"Outstanding Achievement Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Partner in Safety Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Associate Service Award" - United Professional Horseman's Association

"National Partnership in Safety" Award" - Certified Horsemanship Association 

What our Equine Law Services can Provide

Handling breach of contract, fraud/ misrepresentation, commercial code, and other claims involving equine-related transactions including purchases/sales, leases, mare leases/foal transfers, and partnerships.

Litigating disputes in court or through alternative dispute resolution (arbitration, mediation, facilitation).

Defending equine/farm/equestrian industry professionals,  businesses, and associations in personal injury claims and lawsuits.

Drafting and negotiating contracts for boarding, training, sales, waivers/releases, leases, and numerous other equine-related transactions.

Representing and advising insurers on  coverage and policy language as well as litigation;

Advising equine industry clubs and associations regarding management, rules, bylaws, disputes, and regulations.

Representing some of the equine industry's top trainers, competitors, stables, and associations.

Counseling industry professionals, stable managers, and individual horse owners. 


Did you know Julie Fershtman has spoken at the American Horse Council Annual Meeting, Equine Affaire, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) Annual Meeting, American Morgan Horse Association Annual Meeting, American Paint Horse Association Annual Meeting, US Pony Clubs, Inc.'s Annual Meeting, All-American Quarter Horse Congress, American Youth Horse Council Annual Meeting, American Riding Instructors Association Annual Meeting, CHA Annual Meeting, and numerous others? Consider signing her up for your convention. Contact Julie.

Follow Us on Twitter!

Follow us for updates regarding news, cases, disputes, and issues regarding Equine Law. @horselawyers