The Life

August 27, 2010 1:58 PM

Off the Clock: Easy Rider

Posted by Terry Baynes



In the Saddle Christiane Schuman Campbell

On the Clock Intellectual Property associate at Duane Morris

Off the Clock Riding the course in competitive horse shows

Equestrian Mission Clearing the fence

Many people are surprised when they learn of Christiane Schuman Campbell's double life. By day, the Duane Morris intellectual property associate protects clients' trademarks. By night and on weekends, Campbell dominates the United States Equestrian Federation charts in horse show jumping.

The most common question asked of Campbell about her equestrian pursuits: "How do you have the time?" It's an obvious one given the demands of the legal profession as well as Campbell's accomplishments in horse show jumping--she's currently ranked twenty-second in the country and first in the Mid-Atlantic for the Amateur Owner Hunter 18-35 division. Earlier this year, she was ranked the second best in the nation in the same division.

That first question almost always is followed by another: "When do you have the time?"

A typical weekday goes something like this: Campbell wakes up around 4:30 a.m., often to get on a 5:00 a.m. conference call with clients in Asia and Europe. Her practice focuses on trademark opposition and cancellation actions before foreign tribunals, so most of her clients already have finished their day by the time she arrives at the office at 7:00 a.m. She lives in Newtown, PA, an hour-and-a-half train ride from Duane Morris's Philadelphia office. "I have a lot to catch up on," she says. But an early start means she ends by 6 p.m.--"early for an attorney," she says. Then, she heads straight for the stables in Doylestown, PA.

Campbell exercises anywhere from one to three horses a night, an hour-and-a-half per horse on average. "I create an exercise program for the horse that involves improving their strength, flexibility, and jumping performance." Twice a week, she works one-on-one with a coach. She seldom makes the 9 p.m. curfew her husband set for getting home and having dinner.

Once she's back home, and after cooking, eating, doing the dishes, and packing lunches for the next day, Campbell logs on to check e-mail and tie up any loose ends from work. She typically gets to sleep by 11:30 p.m.--"too late," she confesses.

Even with the flexibility of working very early or very late in the day, balancing a legal career with the competition circuit is not easy. "I have definitely been riding a horse with my BlackBerry in hand," she adds. Campbell clearly is a standout--few of her female competitors have other careers, she says. The horse shows usually fall on Fridays and Saturdays a couple of times a month; national competitions take place four times a year with three in the fall and one in the spring.

Competing in shows is by far the hardest thing she does, Campbell says. The judging alone can be a challenge--such a subjective and political process is, as she puts it, "incredibly nerve wracking."

But there are some career perks, too. "Horse shows are a who's who of corporate, political, and celebrity America," she says. On a couple of occasions, while waiting ringside to compete, she has spotted Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp--both have daughters who are competitive horse riders. "It's given me access to a lot of high-level executives in the business world," Campbell says.

And there are parallels between the equestrian competitions and litigating cases, she says. In protecting a company's IP assets, you have to guide clients and manage their expectations. "It's similar in a ring when you're with a horse," she says. "They're very needy the way clients can be. You're dictating the horse's every move."

Ultimately, life as a rider brings greater balance to her life all around. "It keeps me sane. I don't think I could work as an attorney without that outlet. It's a great way to decompress at the end of the day and get ready to start a new one."

Photo: Randi Muster


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What dedication!! Surely she is driven anjd must have had special parents...I should know...I'm her father and so proud of her.

Christiane is dedicated to so much and does it all so effortlessly. I'm so proud of her, her accomplishments in law and in the ring. It is not surprising to me that she excels in everything she does. What a great article!

As her husband I can definitely attest to her being driven - no question about that. I am not too sure about the doing the dishes part . . . but I do know that she makes the most awesome dinners and amazingly delicious sandwiches, even if the sandwiches are cold!

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