I received an email from Al, a lawyer in New Orleans who told me he had read my book: “Prepare to Win.” After reading the book he came across the following web site via Kevin O’Keefe’s blog: http://www.alisonrowe.com/. He told me that he immediately recognized Alison from my book and that he thought what Alison is doing is a great testament to my influence. Actually what Alison is doing is a great testament to Alison’s passion and persistence.
For those of you who have not read “Prepare to Win,” let me share with you Alison’s story. Alison grew up in Ellis County, south of Dallas, where her family has raised cattle and cotton for five generations. She went to Cornell University law school and while there she was a summer associate at my old firm. Nancy and I met Alison when she attended a summer associate in-home dinner at our house. I knew right then that Alison would become a very successful lawyer over time.
Fast forward to five years later. Alison had joined our firm as a corporate lawyer. When that work slowed down she transferred to our litigation practice group where she handled securities arbitrations. I am sure she viewed her role as more of a cut and paste from the 100 previous securities arbitration pleadings.
One day Alison invited me to lunch to talk about her future. She began by saying that if she had to do securities arbitrations the rest of her life she would quit practicing law. I told her I admired that she had figured out what she did not want to do and asked if she knew what she would love to do the rest of her career. She told me she had not thought of that. We spent the next 45 minutes exploring that and I never saw a gleam in her eyes when she brought up various possibilities. As we were paying the check she looked at me and said: “I have an idea and you have to promise not to laugh.” I told her I would not laugh. Then she said: “I want to be an equine lawyer and represent race horse owners. I grew up with horses, I own a horse and I love ‘horse people.'” I finally saw the gleam in her eyes.
The next day we began putting together a plan. I told her to build her library and join the Texas Thoroughbred Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the American Quarter Horse Association and other industry groups. I told her to not only join, but to also go to Austin and Louisville and actually meet the executive directors of those groups. I had a client from California who raced horses and I contacted him for advice. I had a friend in Dallas who raced horses and Alison and I met with him for breakfast that very week. He gave her periodicals that she should read and for which she should ultimately write articles. He told her the problems, opportunities and changes thoroughbred racehorse owners were facing.
To coin a phrase: “Alison was off to the races.” Within months she had become insatiable reading and studying issues affecting the industry with her non-billable time, while continuing to get her hours doing the securities arbitrations. She got her first speaking engagement to a group of new thoroughbred racehorse owners and she created her own marketing brochure.
In 2007 Alison got married to Rick, a Vet student at Texas A&M. As a result, she left a big law firm and opened her own practice in Bryan, Texas. Needless to say this was a huge and challenging step. I hear from Alison occasionally and she tells me she is on her way to a record year in 2008. I am confident that over time Alison will become one of the “go-to” equine lawyers in the US. Check out her website above and her Blog.