Bill Chamblee likes to horse around—literally. The founder and managing partner of Dallas-based Chamblee, Ryan, Kershaw & Anderson PC specializes in veterinary medicine, with a focus on equine law. He also rides and competes in his free time.
Chamblee has owned horses since he was a boy. Today he has a complete menagerie at home. Along with 12 horses, he has a couple of dozen ducks, six cats, three dogs, and a zebra—a gift for his now-11-year-old daughter, Sedona.
After attending St. Mary’s University law school in San Antonio, Chamblee spent a year as a clerk for an appeals-court judge before going to work for Coles and Thompson. Fifteen years ago, he founded his own firm.
“I just decided that I had such a love for the horse world and such a love for the law,” Chamblee says. “I thought, why not combine the two and try to see if I can create an equine practice?”
It’s not a very common field; there are only a handful of lawyers in Dallas who do equine work, Chamblee says. The American College of Equine Attorneys, based in Louisville, Ky., has just 63 members. Five of those are in North Texas; the other one’s in Houston.
Equine law involves everything from basic contracts to the litigation of injuries, whether it’s a horse or a rider, Chamblee says. Most often his legal advice involves the buying, selling, and leasing of horses. Contract terms can relate to the insurance needed to cover the animal, a veterinary check to make sure the horse is in good health, how the horse will be trained, and where it will be boarded.
Chamblee says there are many similarities between a competition in the horse world and a day in trial.
“Both of them are adrenaline-creating,” he says. “At the moment that you perform, in a courtroom or in an arena, people are watching, and they don’t have any idea how many hundreds of thousands of hours went into allowing you to create that performance.”
Chamblee excels at both. He has appeared on the “Texas Super Lawyers” list since 2005. He also received a Martindale-Hubbell “AV Preeminent” rating, a peer-based honor that puts him at the highest level of professional excellence.
In the competition ring, he, along with his horse, Levi, was named Reserve Champion in the 2009 Silver Stirrup Awards by the U.S. Equestrian Federation and the Performance Horse Registry.
Chamblee says his passion helps drive his success—in the law office and on horseback.
“It takes a lot of love, a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work, and a lot of art to do both of them well,” Chamblee says of his law and riding careers. “There’s an art to it that not everybody has—and not everybody can acquire.”