The Network recommends that armed citizens get to know an attorney before needing one. A client who wants to meet with an attorney absent a pending legal issue is unusual for many criminal defense law firms, so we asked our Affiliated Attorneys to comment on the pre-need consultation with this question–
We understand that law firms are busy places focused on defending people with current legal problems. How do you recommend a Network member who does not have a pending legal issue connect with an attorney for a brief consultation to be sure the member understands their state’s self-defense laws, while getting to know the attorney they'll call to protect their rights after self defense?
Our affiliated attorneys responded–
Mike Ooley & Alex Ooley
Boehl, Stopher & Graves, LLP
400 Pearl Street, Suite 204
New Albany, IN 47150
It can be difficult to simply talk to an attorney, particularly when there is no immediate legal issue at hand. Assuming you have one or more attorneys in mind, we personally believe that the best way to make contact is to simply call the firm and indicate that you would like to pay for a short meeting consisting of an hour or two to discuss your state’s self-defense laws. If you want an in-depth education on your state’s self-defense and firearms laws, the meeting may need to be longer. If the attorney and/or the attorney’s staff is so busy that they are not willing to set up a time to meet with you, that is a good sign that the firm/attorney may not be a good choice, and it is probably best to move on. In our case, we would be happy to schedule an in-person appointment with any Network member in Indiana. As a matter of fact, we generally do not charge ACLD Network members for an initial 30-minute “get to know you” meeting.
Additionally, we would also recommend that any prospective client attend one of our legal educational seminars, which last about five hours and are designed to apprise participants of the essential laws regarding self defense with a firearm for the State of Indiana. The cost of this seminar runs from $60 to $95 per person, depending upon the venue and the size of the group. We believe this seminar provides valuable educational information, a chance to know us on a personal and professional level and is likely much less expensive than paying for a private meeting with an attorney.
There may be similar legal educational seminars available in your state, which would likely be valuable. Of course, if you cannot find such a seminar and don’t already have an ACLDN affiliate attorney in the area, we would suggest that you make contact with firearms instructors in the area and get recommendations from them for attorneys that are knowledgeable in the area of self-defense law. Additionally, we always emphasize the importance of a focused and documented review of the ACLDN DVDs that are provided to all new members.
Kelly & Chapman
PO Box 168, Portland, ME 04101
In Maine, the State Bar Association does referrals. They can also call a state gun owner association. In Maine, that would be Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, or Gun Owners of Maine.
Mark Seiden Law
3948 3rd St. S., PMB 387, Jacksonville, FL 32250
In answer to the question of the month, it is a good idea to meet with the lawyer who might be called upon to represent you in a face to face meeting. Many lay persons do not have a clear understanding of their state’s self-defense laws and what their rights, duties and obligations are in that regard. The meeting would be a good time to discuss what legal issues might arise in a self-defense shooting as well as to gain a clear understanding of applicable gun laws in the state.
That said, lawyers charge for their time, advice and expertise. I would estimate such a meeting, if done in depth, would take between one and two hours of the lawyer’s time. The potential client should expect to be charged accordingly, based upon the lawyer’s usual hourly rate.
Kevin L. Jamison
2614 NE. 56th Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64119
Many different gun rights organizations have lists of attorneys who are knowledgeable in this area. The corporation attorney on the board of the gun club does not have the experience in this area. For a small fee I do consultations regarding local law. For another yearly fee I keep a file on a person so if the worst thing happens I have a place to start. Once in a while a gun club asks me to give a speech.
If there is no nearby gun nut lawyer, contact a local criminal defense lawyer. Explain to him that he will have an innocent client. This takes some getting used to. Criminal defense lawyers practice on guilty people, so do prosecutors. Representing an innocent person takes a different mind set. An innocent person does not see a felony plea with no jail as a victory.
Find a lawyer who can be contacted after hours. Bad things happen after dark.
A big “Thank You!” to our affiliated attorneys for their contributions to this column. Please return next month for a new topic of discussion.
To read more of this month's journal, please click here.