July 1, 2009
Horsin’ Around: Katy Bloomquist ’89 Blends Work and Hobby
This is the first in a series of stories profiling Oregon Law alumni whose class reunions occur this fall.
Katy (Cheolis) Bloomquist, Class of ’89, knew she wanted to be a lawyer since ninth grade, but the type of law she would practice wasn’t so clear.
“My mother said that because of the way I argued, I should be a lawyer,” Katy remembers. “That actually was a major factor in my decision to go to law school — it was either law school or become a concert violinist.”
Even throughout the rigors of law school, Katy said she never regretted her decision to become a lawyer. Perhaps it was her unique, yet relaxing way of studying for finals that helped ease the stresses that so often cause law students to buckle under the pressure.
“I rented a room and studied for finals on the Oregon Coast,” she fondly recalls. “I bought my first car, a red Honda Prelude, in law school and loved to drive it up and down the coast.”
In fact, Katy says she chose Oregon Law after visiting and seeing the beautiful environment in which the school is located. “After that visit, I contemplated environmental law but decided at the time that I was more business law oriented.”
Following graduation from law school, Katy returned to her home state of Minnesota and set off to work in a large corporate law firm regularly logging 80 hours a week, sometimes more. She credits a senior partner in the firm with recognizing the risk of burnout and encouraging her to find a hobby outside of work.
“He introduced me to horses, and from there I was hooked,” she says.
In 1996, Katy was in charge of an equine case that went before the Minnesota Supreme Court — and she won. To this day, this case still stands out in her mind as one of her proudest accomplishments since law school.
“Arguing before the Minnesota Supreme Court was great, especially because so many people told me the case would never make it that far, but it did and I won.”
After the 1996 case, Katy came to the realization that she may just be fortunate enough to combine her passions — law and horses — into a rewarding career. She established Bloomquist Law Firm, which specializes in equine and animal law.
Her practice focuses primarily on the preventative side of the equine business including initial releases and boarding contracts. The litigation side includes insurance defense (representing a barn or trainer) and both domestic and international sales contracts. Additionally, Katy has had the opportunity to represent Olympic athletes in sponsorship contracts, while also helping corporations work with the athletes.
“I think one of the reasons I have been successful is that, because horses are my passion, I speak the language,” Katy explains. “I know the people, the vets, and the trainers. There is always someone I can run ideas past or call on to be an expert witness.”
As if running a law firm isn’t enough work, Katy and her husband David Holub, along with their two children Paula and Jack, own and operate Trophy Hill Sport Horses, LLC, a 20-acre horse facility located 30 minutes west of the Twin Cities. Their primary focus is developing dressage and jumping horses for their own use and resale. They also host various lessons and clinics for horses of all disciplines. Additionally, the farm serves as a training facility for many Olympic athletes to teach up and coming riders.
“I just get less sleep than most people,” Katy says when asked how she balances work, family, and a horse facility. “I’m also very lucky to have the ability to blend my work with my personal passion.”
Katy herself is more than just a leisurely rider. She has competed in the one star format, one of the upper levels in Eventing, an equestrian sport comprised of dressage, cross-county, and show-jumping. “I competed at the international level and was able to beat several Olympic athletes on their young horses,” she says.
Most recently, Katy has served as a contributing author to the recently released American Bar Association book, Litigating Animal Law Disputes: A Complete Guide for Lawyers. Her chapter discusses the use of expert witnesses in animal litigation, a topic she presented at this year’s Equine Law Conference.
Despite all her professional and athletic successes, Katy maintains that she is the most proud of her family.
“I’m so lucky that I have found a career that I love, but what I’m proud of the most are my children and family.”