Julie I. Fershtman recognizes the importance of your equine business and horse ownership. When you want your interests protected in a legal dispute, or when you need the right contract, you want a lawyer who knows the industry well, works honorably and effectively within it, has decades of experience, and has multiple courtroom successes. A highly experienced lawyer, she has 37 years in the practice of law and is an Equity Shareholder with the full-service law firm Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC. She is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading Equine Law practitioners. She also gives back to the industry by assistance to associations, writings, and speaking engagements. Her writings on Equine Law include over 450 published articles, 4 books, and the Equine Law Blog (equinelawblog.com). With engagements in 29 states, including the industry's largest conventions, she is also the equine industry's most in-demand speaker on Equine Law.
The practice. Crossing all horse breeds and disciplines, she serves a national** clientele of stables, trainers, professionals, associations, businesses, show management, insurers, clinicians, instructors, equestrian programs, breeders, coaches, landowners, veterinarians, farm owners, and individual horse owners.
Unmatched Equine Law expertise. Year after year, she achieves numerous courtroom victories. One year alone, for example, she won jury trials in 3 states, 2 state court appeals, and a major Federal insurance coverage case — all on equine-related matters. She also drafts contracts with the goal of helping her clients avoid legal disputes.
Types of equine-related matters handled. Some examples include: equine sale disputes and/or sales contract drafting for buyers or sellers, equine lease disputes and/or lease contract drafting for lessors or lessees, ownership disputes, stablemen's lien enforcement matters, collection of past-due fees, defamation (slander, libel), business and partnership disputes, personal injury liability (typically, defending equine professionals, associations, show management and horse owners when they have been sued or threatened with suit), real estate disputes, employment matters, insurance disputes (typically representing insurance companies), and much more. More examples are further below.
National experience.** Litigation experience in more than 20 jurisdictions including Florida, Illinois (4 cases), Missouri (2 cases), Ohio (3 cases), Georgia, Arizona, Kentucky (2 cases), Connecticut (2 cases), South Carolina, Pennsylvania (2 cases), Tennessee. Jury trials in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Connecticut. Arbitrations in 2 states.
Background. Graduate of Emory College and Emory Law School. Areas of practice also include business litigation, contract disputes, sale disputes, insurance coverage, fraud litigation, liability defense, product liability, and more.
Equine industry involvement. Several years of service on equine industry committees and boards.
Bar association leadership. Past President (2011-2012) of the 42,000-member State Bar of Michigan. Past Vice-Chair of ABA-TIPS Section Animal Law Committee. Past State Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates.
National legal consulting (for those who already have lawyers). Most lawyers have no experience in horse-related matters and do not understand the equine industry. To assist your lawyer, regardless of the state, Ms. Fershtman can be hired to consult on contracts or lawsuits, subject to a conflict check. **
NEWS: Julie Fershtman is already lined up to speak at conferences in four states in 2024 -- Tennesee, Kentucky, Iowa, and California! In addition to being listed as one of the 2023 "Top 100 Lawyers in Michigan" from Super Lawyers Magazine, she was also named to the DBusiness Magazine "Top Lawyer" list for 2024.
Visit the Foster Swift Law Firm Web Site
Julie I. Fershtman, Esq.
Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, PC
28411 Northwestern Hwy., Ste. 500
Southfield, Michigan 48034
Direct Phone Line: (248) 785-4731
Main Office Line: (248) 539-9900
Legal Profession Honors - Partial List
- The Best Lawyers in America ® Listed every year since 2013 for Commercial Litigation and Insurance Law
- "Woman of the Year" in Michigan's legal profession in 2016 by Michigan Lawyers Weekly
- "Leader in the Law" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly
- Listed in Michigan Super Lawyers.® Listed in 2008 and every year thereafter.
- Listed among the "Top 50 Women Lawyers in Michigan" by Michigan Super Lawyers
- Listed among the "Top 100 Lawyers in Michigan" by Michigan Super Lawyers
- Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
- Rated “AV” 5.0/5 (highest possible rating for abilities and ethics) by Martindale-Hubbell - www.martindale.com
- Listed in Who's Who in American Law for over 30 years
- Highest possible rating (10.0/10 "Superb") by www.avvo.com
Equine Industry Accolades
Recipient of these prestigious equine industry awards:
"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award" - ABA 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 Horsemen's Association
"Partnership in Safety Award" - Certified Horsemanship Association
Results Delivered for Clients - Partial List
No lawyer can guarantee results, but we work hard to achieve them for our clients. Some examples:
- Successfully defended a horse rental stable and its owner in the trial court. All claims were dismissed, and the Court ruled in clients' favor on the Counterclaim based on a signed waiver. (Livingston County, MI, 2023.)
- Successfully defended a horse stable and riding instructor in the trial court and court of appeals. Molnar v. Tenacity Farm, Inc.
- Defended a horse boarding stable in a lawsuit brought by a horse owner who claimed a boarded horse was injured due to the stable's negligence. Case against client, the stable, was dismissed when court granted the defense's motion to dismiss the case.
- Represented defrauded horse buyers in a trial against sellers. Horse buyer clients/plaintiffs won the trial, and the court ordered the defendants (losing parties) to reimburse the plaintioffs' damages as well as 100% of their legal fees.
- Lead counsel in Hauser v. Great American Assurance Company, 971 F. Supp.2d 824 (N.D. Ill. 2013)(affirming denial of coverage on an equine mortality insurance policy, representing insurer).
- Lead counsel in Jahn v. Great American Assurance Company, 2004 WL 765240 (N.D. Ill. 2004)(affirming denial of coverage on an equine mortality insurance policy, representing insurer).
- Rivera v. R.P. Gordon, Inc., 2004 WL 1109153 (Mich. App. 2004)(defending horse trail ride operation that was sued by a customer injured during the ride, securing dismissal of the case at trial court level, affirmed on appeal).
- Mounts v. Van Beest, 2004 Mich. App. LEXIS 2062 (Mich. App. 2004)(defending individual horse owner who was sued by friend who was injured when horse bucked him off, securing dismissal of the case at the trial court level, affirmed on appeal).
- Successfully defended individual horse owners who have been sued for personal injury by others riding or near their horses. Successfully defended stables that have been sued for injuries to horses.
- Lead trial counsel in defense of an Illinois trail ride operation at a state park that was sued by an injured customer seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars. Case proceeded to a week-long jury trial. Won the trial, with the jury unanimously issuing a "no-cause" verdict in the stable's favor.
- Falmouth Cooperative Co. v. Bontekoe Farms, 2020 WL 6110928 (Mich. App. 2020)(defending manufacturer/seller of custom livestock feed against claims that the feed caused death of livestock. Secured dismissal of all claims against the client at the trial court level; court of appeals affirmed dismissal).
- Counsel for stable in a complex equine business dispute involving claims of theft and conversion and seeking return of horses from a horse breeder. Won a nine-day trial, and client recovered possession of its horses through the lawsuit.
- Defended a horse boarding and riding lesson stable against a lawsuit brought by a visitor who was injured in the barn. All claims against the stable were dismissed by the court after court granted stable's motion to dismiss the case.
- Defended horse owners in a lawsuit brought against them by their horse trainer who was injured while training their horse. All claims against the clients/horse owners were dismissed by the court, after court granted horse owners' motion to dismiss the case.
- Drafted a boarding stable's contract, but a customer later sued the stable. On the strength of the contract, the trial court dismissed the case against the client, and the court of appeals affirmed dismissal.
- Defended a horse breeder against claims of defamation (slander/libel) by another horse breeder. All claims against the client were dismissed by the court, after court granted horse breeder's motion to dismiss the claims.
Published Works on Equine Law - Books
Equine Law and Horse Sense (ABA Publishing, 2019). This book has received 4 national book awards. More information and order information can be found further below.
Co-author/co-editor, Litigating Animal Law Disputes: A Complete Guide for Lawyers (ABA Publishing, 2009).
MORE Equine Law & Horse Sense (Horses & The Law Publishing, 2000).
Equine Law & Horse Sense (Horses & The Law Publishing, 1996).
Published Works on Equine Law - Articles (Partial List)
EQUUS Magazine (3 articles)
Horse Illustrated (5 articles)
Stable Management Magazine (12 articles)
Riding Instructor Magazine (regular/monthly column contributor since the 1990s)
American Quarter Horse Journal (4 articles)
International Arabian Horse Magazine (2 articles)
AHSA Horse Show Magazine
Saddle and Bridle Magazine
Michigan Bar Journal
American Bar Association-TIPS Animal Law Committee Newsletter (15 articles)
American Bar Association-Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Law Journal (8 survey of the law articles)
Contributor, American Youth Horse Council Horse Industry Handbook
450+ articles appearing in equine industry publications nationwide since 1993.
Featured in (Partial List)
"Horse Sense: Fershtman Brings Legal Knowledge to the Equine Industry," Michigan Super Lawyers Magazine.
"Equine Lawyers: A breed apart," Lawyers Weekly USA.
"Equine Lawyer Represents a New Breed of Clients," Michigan Lawyers Weekly.
"ABA Profiles in the Profession" (online)
"The Galloping Lawyer," Detroit Free Press.
"Galloping to Glory," Texas Bar Journal.
"Riding High," The Oakland Press.
"21 Lawyers Leading Us Into the 21st Century," ABA Barrister Magazine
"Lawyer Clears Liability Hurdles," Chicago Tribune.
"The Horse Lawyer," WJBK TV-2 News.
"Horses in the Morning" Podcast.
Legal Talk Network
Quoted In (Partial List)
New York Times
CBS News Newspath
Horse & Rider Magazine
The Blood-Horse Magazine
Stable Management Magazine
American Paint Horse Journal
American Quarter Horse Journal
Quarter Horse News
International Arabian Horse Magazine
Hoof Beats (USTA) Magazine
Miniature Horse World
Performance Horse Digest
Horses USA Magazine
Examples of Several Types of Equine Industry Contracts We Can Draft
• Waivers/releases for individual horse owners, stables, trainers, riding instructors, businesses, and others
• Waivers/releases for equine associations and clubs
• Boarding contracts (full board, self-care board, or boarding with optional training)
• Equine leases (either lessor-oriented or lessee-oriented)
• Equine shared use contracts (also referred to as "half-lease" or "share board" contracts); lessor or lessee oriented
• Equine lease with option to buy contracts
• Mare lease and foal transfer contracts
• Training contracts (on-site or visiting trainers)
• Training and instruction contracts for roving professionals without a home base who travel to clients
• Breeding contracts for different types of breeding arrangements, including live cover, AI, frozen semen, ICSI
• Stallion purchase/sale contracts with or without retained breeding rights to seller
• Equine partnership agreements
• Stallion management contracts
• Equine facility use contracts (rental of some or all of the stable facility to an independent professional)
• Equine clinician contracts
• Specialized boarding for lay-ups, retirement, etc.
• Hauling contracts
• Sales contracts (buyer-oriented or seller-oriented), with numerous optional clauses and provisions
• Equine agency contracts
• Installment sale contracts (buyer or seller-oriented)
• In utero foal purchase agreements (buyer-oriented or seller-oriented)
• Pre-sale equine trial period contracts
How can you become a new client?
Ms. Fershtman is busy but welcomes new clients. If you would like to hire her, please note that we strictly follow ethical regulations.** Please do not e-mail, mail, or deliver details of your legal matter. (She may already represent the other side.) Instead, please call Ms. Fershtman [Direct line: (248) 785-4731; main office: (248) 539-9900]. She or her assistant will check for conflicts and determine if she can help.
** What states are involved - and how can we help?
Regulations forbid lawyers from practicing law all alone in states where they are not licensed. Ms. Fershtman's license is in Michigan, but she assists clients nationwide. If your legal matter is in another state, and if you are interested in hiring her, please note that you will very likely need to hire a local lawyer to work in some capacity with her. For contracts drafted for people and businesses outside of her state, she will send drafts to clients and their local lawyers for final approval. These out of state service requirements are inflexible. Please contact Ms. Fershtman to learn how she can help as your lawyer, co-counsel, or consultant.
Equine Law Speaking Engagements in 29 States (and Counting)
No other lawyer anywhere has produced more educational material to benefit the equine industry.
National Speaking Engagements include:
- National Conference on Equine Law - speaker by invitation nearly every year since 1994
- Equine Affaire Convention (Ohio, Massachusetts, California)
- American Horse Council Annual Convention
- American Youth Horse Council Annual Convention
- U.S. Dressage Federation Annual Meeting
- Hoosier Horse Fair
- All-American Quarter Horse Congress
- American Riding Instructors Association Annual Convention
- Equine Nutrition & Physiology National Symposium
- Midwest Horse Fair
- Cornell University Equine Conference
- U.S. Pony Clubs Annual Convention
- Carriage Association of America Convention
- U.S. Hunter/Jumper Association Annual Meeting
- Equestrian Professional National Teleconferences
- Equine Land Conservation Resource Teleconference
- International Paso Fino Horse Assoc. Convention
- United Professional Horsemen's Assoc. Nat'l. Convention
- North Amer. Riding for the Handicapped (PATH Int'l) Conv.
- American Paint Horse Association Annual Convention
- Carriage Operators of North America Annual Convention
- Michigan Horse Council International Stallion Exposition
- AM Best National Equine Insurance Podcast
- National Dude Ranchers Association Annual Convention
- Washington State Bar Association
- New York State Bar Association
- California Dressage Society Annual Convention
- Equitana USA (California and Kentucky)
2022 Speaking Engagements. National Conference on Equine Law (Lexington, Kentucky - in person); "Agri Con" - IRMI Agribusiness Conference (Sacramento, California - 2 in-person presentations); New York State Bar Association (virtual); Equestrian Professional national webinar (virtual); Tennessee Master Horse Program (virtual); American Horse Council Conference (Washington, DC- in person); American Horse Council webinar (virtual); Otterbein University, Equine class (virtual).
2023 Speaking Engagements. National Conference on Equine Law (Lexington, Kentucky - in person); University of Kentucky College of Law (virtual); Michigan Horse Council Annual Expo (in person); Michigan Horse Council Legislative Day; U.S. Equestrian Federation; "AgriCon" - IRMI Agribusiness Conference (Sacramento, California - 2 in-person presentations); U.S. Equestrian Federation- (virtual); ABA-TIPS Animal Law Committee/Equine Law subcommittee (virtual); Michigan Horse Council Legislative Day - in person.
2024 Speaking Engagements - 4 States. National Conference on Equine Law (Lexington, Kentucky - in person); Agricultural Claims Conference (Nashville, TN - in person); "AgriCon" - IRMI Agribusiness Conference (San Mateo, CA - in person, and Des Moines, IA - in person).
The one Equine Law book everyone in the industry should own is Equine Law and Horse Sense, written by Julie Fershtman. Order it today!
Written for non-lawyers and lawyers, this book helps individuals, businesses, and organizations understand common legal disputes and learn how to avoid them.
A 372-page paperback, this book covers numerous topics, including contracts, liabilities, equine activity liability acts, loose horse liabilities, zoning and land use laws, business structures, risk management, debt collection and state lien laws, sales disputes, insurance and how to avoid disputes with insurance companies, association liabilities, veterinary malpractice, and numerous others.
THIS BOOK WON FOUR NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS!
- 1st Place - 2019 American Horse Publications Equine Media Awards.
- "Silver Medal" - Independent Book Publishers Association at its 2020 Benjamin Franklin Book Awards.
- 1st Place - 2020 NYC Big Book Awards.
- "Finalist Medal" - 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
If you have Ms. Fershtman's first two Equine Law books (published in 1996 and 2000), you'll definitely want this comprehensive book.
On Amazon.com. Click here for order information.
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