Krysia Carmel Nelson's equine law practice reflects the multi-faceted and unique environment of the horse industry, that is at once a business, a sport and a culture of its own.

Serving the industry’s many needs, including contract drafting, risk management, business organization and consulting, and litigation, Ms. Nelson represents leading horse owners, trainers, riders, breeders, equestrian facilities, major farms, clubs and associations across all nationally and internationally recognized disciplines.  She frequently defends the competition privileges of both professional and amateur riders before the national (USEF) and international (FEI) governing bodies of the sport, as well as the SafeSport Center.  

Additionally, for more than two decades, she has written Equine Law & Business Letter, a commercial newsletter reporting on legal issues affecting the horse industry.  She is an extensively published legal commentator and a frequent speaker at industry and legal conferences, including the National Equine Law Conference.  She has taught as an Adjunct Professor at the Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia.  In addition to her equine law practice, Ms. Nelson serves as an administrative law judge for the Virginia Supreme Court.  She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Villanova University School of Law.  

A lifelong equestrian, Ms. Nelson grew up riding with the Caristo family at their Glenview Stables, and during law school rode for Olympic veteran Michael Matz.  She still competes regularly on the “A” show circuit in the amateur hunter divisions.  In both 2011 and 2018, she was the USHJA/World Champion Hunter Rider Mid-Atlantic Regional Champion in the Amateur Owner division.    

“A law is valuable, not because it is a law, but because there is right in it.”

henry ward beecher
  • Hearing Officer, Virginia Supreme Court, 2000-Present
  • Editor, Equine Law & Business Letter, 1995-Present
  • Criminal Justice Act Panel Attorney, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1996-Present
  • Virginia Department of Education: Special Education Hearing Officer, 2000-Present
  • Complaint Appeal Reviewer, Hearing Officer Evaluator, Special Projects Counsel, 2005-2016
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Washington & Lee University, 2005-2009
  •  CJA Panel Attorney, WDVA, 1996-2007
Bar & Court Admissions​

Bar Admissions:

  • Virginia, 1995
  • Florida, 2015

Court Admissions:

  • Supreme Court of Virginia, 1995
  • United States Supreme Court, 1999
  • United States District Court, Western District of Virginia, 1996
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 1995
  • US Tax Court, 1997
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Virginia, 1997
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, 2015
  • Law School : Villanova University, JD 1995
  • Undergraduate School : Dartmouth College, BA 1992

Reported Cases​
  • U.S. v. Fuller, 22 F. Supp. 2d 526 (W.D.Va. 1998);
  • U.S. v. Carrington, 57 F. Supp. 2d 345 (W.D.Va. 1999);
  • U.S. v. Carrington, 301 F.3d 204 (4th Cir. 2002);
  • Carrington v. U.S., 531 U.S. 1062 (2001);
  • U.S. v. Thomas, 128 Fed. Appx. 986 (4th Cir. 2005);
  • U.S. v. Clarke, 237 Fed. Appx. 831 (4th Cir. 2007);
  • U.S. v. Clarke, 128 S. Ct. 683 (U.S., 2007);
  • U.S. v. Polk, 253 Fed. Appx. 294 (4th Cir. 2007);
  • U.S. v. Hill, 254 Fed. Appx. 221 (4th Cir. 2007);
  • U.S. v. McMillan, 346 Fed. Appx. 945 (4th Cir. 2009);
  • U.S. v. Jackson, 706 F.3d 264 (4th Cir. 2013);
  • U.S. v. McCrea, 529 Fed. Appx. 386 and 584 Fed. Appx. 157 (4th Cir. 2014);
  • U.S. v. Jones, 622 Fed. Appx. 204 (4th Cir. 2015); et al.


  •  Equine Law, Case Law Update, 2019-2020, Published with Materials for the Annual National Conference on Equine Law (May, 2021).
  • Equine Law & Business Letter, Editor/Publisher.  Legal newsletter reporting on significant issues, cases and law practice developments affecting the horse industry, since 1990.  This is a quarterly publication with a paying subscription base. 
  • The Equine Activity Liability Acts: A Discussion Of Those In Existence And  Suggestions For A Model Act, 83 Kentucky Law Journal 157 (1994); also Published with Materials for University of Kentucky College of Law, 9th Annual National Conference on Equine Law (May, 1994). 
  • Horse Activities Engaged In For Profit (Or Not?), Published with Materials for the 12th Annual National Conference on Equine Law (May, 1997).
  • Liability For Undisclosed Commissions In Equine Sales, Published with Materials for University of Kentucky College of Law, 17th Annual National Conference on Equine Law (May, 2002).
  • Lease Agreements, Published with Materials for University of Kentucky College of Law, 23rd Annual National Conference on Equine Law (May, 2008).
  • Liability Issues In Boarding Agreements And Drafting Solutions To Avoid Problems, Published with Materials for University of Kentucky College of Law, 23rd Annual National Conference on Equine Law (May, 2010).
  • Service Animals 101, Published with Materials for Virginia CLE’s Animal Law Seminar (2009); National Equine Law Conference (2013)
  • Animal LawVirginia CLE Animal Law Seminar (2013)
  • Animal Law JeopardyPublished with Materials for Virginia CLE’s Animal Law Seminar (2009)
  • Hearing Officer EthicsPublished with Materials for the Virginia Department of Education Hearing Officer Training (2007-2009)
  • The GavelEditor and contributor. Newsletter of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association, 1995-2002.  
  • ChampionEditor and contributor. Newsletter of the Virginia College of Criminal Defense Attorneys, 1999-2002.
  • Phelpsports.comLegal commentator 2008 – 2016.
  • Warmblood MagazineLegal commentator 2012 – 2019
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