500 Hours of Prep
for a 30-Minute Argument
If Kathryn Karcher lives in Washington state,
why is she president of the California Academy
of Appellate Lawyers?
INTERVIEW BY ERIK LUNDEGAARD
Q: After you graduated from law school,
you biked across the country. Was this a
reward for getting through school?
A: Everybody that I knew took some sort
of major vacation or trip after law school.
My thought process was that I could go to
Europe for two weeks any time, but I can’t
go on a cross-county bicycle trip any time,
and I might not have a gap like that again
in my life.
Q: Did you go alone?
A: I had a boyfriend at the time but he’d
never ridden a bike. He just said, “Hey, I
could come with you.” I said, “OK, fine.” So,
he went and bought a bike and started to
get in shape.
Q: How did you get in shape?
A: I knew I could ride significant distances.
The summer after my first year of law
school, I didn’t have the grades that could
get into a law firm as a first-year. So I went
to my dad and said, “Dad, I’m happy to get
a job in a retail store, a movie theater or
whatever.” He said, “You’ll have the rest
of your life to take care of yourself. Let me
take care of you over the summer. Just do
what you want.” So six mornings a week, I
woke up, drank a bunch of coffee, read the
Los Angeles Times, and got on my bike and
rode anywhere for about 90 to 120 miles.
Q: What kind of bike?
A: It’s a brand that nobody has anymore:
an SR. I still have that bike. It was a $450
bike when I was in college. Awesome bike.
Q: What was memorable about the trip?
A: Nothing all that earth-shaking. Instead
of packing big panniers and camping, we
packed very little and stayed in whatever
cheap hotel we found. It averaged about
$20 a night, which was not any more
expensive than our rent. I really liked being
able to take a shower and put on decent
clothes and go out to dinner, which is what
we did every single night.