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TRUDY: THE EQUESTRIAN

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An Attorney with Horse Sense

It's challenging enough to take the dog for a walk every day, much less compete on horseback through three events in one of the most difficult sports in the world. That's what Trudy Innes Richardson does, in an equine sport known as eventing.

Eventing is composed of three phases: dressage shows how well the horse and rider harmonize through a series of graceful movements; stadium jumping shows off the team's skills as they jump over fences at varying heights; and cross country, in which a series of fixed, immovable obstacles are encountered along a 2.5- to 5-mile course. These can be fences, ditches, bodies of water or stone walls.

"When you integrate different aspects of your life, they lift each other up and keep you better for your clients and colleagues."
 
Eventing is as much a competition against other people as it is an internalized competition to see how well you and your partner can do.

In stadium jumping, if the horse strikes a fence, penalties are deducted from the final score if any portion of the fence falls to the ground. Over the cross country course, striking an obstacle is more dangerous and can mean a fall for the horse and rider as well as elimination from the competition. The risk of serious injury is high. Eventing combines fluidity with athleticism, precision with adrenaline, horsemanship with showmanship. No wonder it's considered a wildly competitive sport.

With competitions lasting anywhere from two to four days, time saving is big on Trudy's list. Trudy has found that WestlawNext cuts her research time in half.

Standing Before the Judge

As a litigator and Super Lawyer, Trudy is accustomed to being in front of judges. Eventing judges are looking not for the motions but at the motions. Especially in dressage, similar to ballet on horseback, the judge looks for balance and rhythm. The rider must also demonstrate that she and her horse are supremely fit – all in a relaxed manner.

"Being a litigator and an eventer, I'm very competitive. I find when I integrate and feed this competitive nature in different ways, it keeps me sharp and grounded."

Trudy and Friar Tuck, a 13-year-old, sturdy draft cross, have won several titles together. Trudy is now entering the ring with "DJ" a 5-year-old off-the-track thoroughbred whose registered name is Nip and Repent. The horse and rider must trust each other, remember the course together, and feel an internalized competitive spirit. For as much as the competition is against others, "you also want to see how well you and your partner can do together."

"WestlawNext means at the end of the day, I work smarter, not harder.  I deliver the same quality services to my clients without overbilling them.  And it gives me time to do more of the things I like to do."
 

Saddle Up

Take WestlawNext out for a ride and you'll find what Trudy found: "WestlawNext and the ability to cross search, and to email, and to save into the Folders, as opposed to saving into my credenza, means that at the end of the day, I work smarter, not harder. I deliver the same quality services to my clients without overbilling them – and I'm increasing my bottom line."

WestlawNext search results give Trudy secondary and tertiary sources on matters that she can use in crafting an argument with primary sources. "It just gives me a much better grasp so that next time I have that issue again, my prep time is cut."

"With WestlawNext, I can tell it what I am looking for and invariably in the little box on the left, I will find 15-20 things that specifically pertain to what I was looking for."

In fact, WestlawNext seems to understand her just about as well as her horse does.

An accomplished defense attorney at a law firm in Tallahassee, Florida, Trudy started riding by age five but eventing in her 40s. She found jumping alone "wasn't pushing the adrenaline enough."

Trudy's law firm: Guilday, Tucker, Schwartz & Simpson, P.A.

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