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In 2023, three Network members defended themselves, called on the Network, and we paid attorneys to represent them. Two had selected attorneys in advance; for one, we contacted several attorneys before finding a lawyer to provide representation.

The experiences put the spotlight on reasons armed citizens prefer to meet with an attorney and work out in advance how to contact them for help after self defense.

It is not as easy as it sounds! When Network members contact attorneys, the responses range from “come by my office for a few minutes” to “buy me breakfast and we’ll talk” to “call us after something has happened.” Every law firm operates a little differently, so we alert members that attorneys may need to charge members for consultations, especially for meetings lasting more than a few minutes. In the following pages, we share the last of the many responses received to February’s Attorney Question of the Month, when we asked our Affiliated Attorneys the following questions:

Do you speak with armed citizens who don’t have an immediate need for representation but want to be prepared?

If an armed citizen wants to meet you briefly, do you prefer a phone call, Zoom or other Internet meeting, or to talk in person?

How should a member contact you for a brief meeting (telephone, in person, email)?

To avoid repeating the question for each response, we separated the questions and have three segments in which the attorneys respond. Only the first set of responses give full contact details for the responding attorney.

Question: Do you speak with armed citizens who don’t have an immediate need for representation but want to be prepared?

Alex M. Ooley & E. Michael Ooley
Ooley Law, LLC
P.O. Box 70, Borden, IN 47106

Yes, we periodically meet armed citizens who are concerned about having legal representation with respect to a self-defense encounter should the need arise. We appreciate the preparedness mindset and welcome communication in the manner that is most convenient to the member to discuss any individualized concerns.

We appreciate the responsible armed citizen taking action to limit the effects of any potential aftermath, including legal aftermath, and having a relationship with an attorney knowledgeable in self-defense law ahead of time can be very beneficial.

Katherine A. Decker, Esq.
Foundations Law, PLLC
P.O. Box 12002, Lynchburg, VA 24506-2002


Yes, I will.

Mark B. Bullman
Bullman Law
1200 Altmore Ave Ste 120, Atlanta, GA 30342

We are happy to speak to anyone about basic rights, such as not talking with police after an incident other than to provide basic information until they have spoken with an attorney, even if they did absolutely nothing wrong, etc.

Miva VanEngen, Esq.
VanEngen Law Office, P.C.
1802 Dearborn Ave, Suite 202, Missoula, MT 59801


Duane A. Daiker
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
Bank of America Plaza, Suite 2800 - 101 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33602

I have had a number of Network members reach out to me just to make a connection. I am always happy to do that.

Steven Oberman
Oberman & Rice, Trial Attorneys
550 Main Street, Suite 730, Knoxville, TN 37902

Of course.

Jaimie Washo Spivey, Esq.
The Washo Law Firm, P.A.
535 W. Main St. Tavares, FL 32778 or 138 Bushnell Plaza, Suite 300, Bushnell, FL 33513

Yes, they typically call me after they are given my name by the Network.

Travis J. Groat
Attorney at Law
422 E. Mitchell Street, Unit 4B, Petoskey, MI 49770

I prefer phone calls. I have had two people contact me to simply discuss concerns and how to reach me if needed, without an immediate need of anything in particular. I was able to take those calls as they came in, without the need to schedule anything.

Keith H. Rutman
Attorney at Law
402 West Broadway, Suite 1560, San Diego, CA. 92101-8534


Thomas S. Hale
505 20th St N., Birmingham, AL 35203

Yes, I will speak with armed citizens who wish to be prepared, although I do not practice criminal law per se, but do defend any civil actions resulting from a 2nd Amendment incident.

John R. Monroe
John Monroe Law, PC
156 Robert Jones Road, Dawsonville, GA 30534

Yes, I speak with armed citizens without an immediate need for legal services (assuming they have reached out to me). 

Ralph D. Sherman
130 West Main Street, New Britain, CT 06052


Christopher H. Cessna
CessnaLaw, LLC.
7314 Ralst on Road, Arvada, CO 80002

I am happy to take calls and chat with members in Colorado even before any incident may arise.

Fred L. Abrams, Esq.
Attorney at Law
31 West 34th Street, No. 8133, New York, NY 10001

Yes. This is important to explain to the client how to interact with law enforcement if the client is approached by law enforcement because of an incident involving the client’s suspected wrongdoing. To cite just one example, unless I am present (and am able to first confer with the client), the client should not make any statements to law enforcement about the incident.

Here is a tip for private citizens with CCW permits from out of NY State who intend to bring their handguns while vacationing in NYC or elsewhere in NY State. Concerning handgun licenses, there is no reciprocity between NYS (or NYC), and any other state. So, if you are a private citizen on a vacation visiting NY (and you bring your handgun from your home state into NY), you will face felony charges if you are arrested.

The exception to this fact pattern that applies to private citizens, would be that the handgun you bring with you on your vacation in NY is already registered in NY and is listed on a NY Penal Law Section 400 handgun license issued to you by governmental authorities in NY. In other words, at the time of your vacation in NY, you have a NY-issued handgun license with the gun you bring into NY listed on it.

Another exception could be that you are a retired law enforcement officer covered by LEOSA (and there are other exceptions as well that mostly apply to government officials like active law enforcement officers, etc.). Last month I represented a private citizen/client in Manhattan Criminal Court—where gun cases are handled at 100 Centre Street, in a special courtroom/special “part” dedicated to presiding over just gun cases. The client had a CCW permit from his/her home state and brought the gun into Manhattan, wrongly thinking there was reciprocity.

Carl Jensen
410 Central Avenue, Suite 506B, Great Falls, MT 59401

I speak with armed citizens if they have questions or concerns, even if don’t have an immediate need.

James D. “Mitch” Vilos
Attorney at Law, P.C.
P.O. Box 1148, Centerville, Utah 84014

My first encounter with a law professor my first year in law school referred to the practice of law as “The Jealous Mistress.” After trying my first few cases, I found out what he meant. When you are dedicated to winning, you tend to pour as many hours into your cases as you can to boost the chances of winning to the greatest extent. Time with your wife, your children and grandchildren suffers.

I do not see the need to meet with clients before an incident. Given the above truth, I would think clients who understand the time issue would want us to devote our time to their case rather than chit-chatting beforehand. I care deeply about each client who trusts me with his or her legal issue. I want to be able to spend more time on their case than less time. Anything that detracts from that is unnecessary and possibly detrimental, IMHO. 

Incidentally, with few possible exceptions, I consider every client I have ever represented a friend. I believe most have felt that from me.

I understand others may feel differently and I respect that.

Adam Dowling
Eng & Woods
903 E Ash St, Columbia, MO 65201



Damon Rogers, Esq.
Rogers | Beltran LLP
6700 Fallbrook Avenue, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 91307


Larry P. McDougal
The Law Office of Larry P. McDougal
809 Houston St., Richmond, TX 77469

I have had a couple come by the office, but I have had more just call me on the phone and talk for about 10-15 minutes.

Craig R. Johnson
Craig Johnson Law, PLLC
2500 N. University Ave., Provo, UT 84604

Yes, 100%.

Benjamin Blatt
P.O. Box 221, South Bend, IN 46624

Yes. Frequently as referrals from local shops. Sometimes speaking to local shooting clubs or groups.

Larry Mertes
Lawrence S. Mertes, P.C.
1325 Dry Creek Dr., Ste 201, Longmont, CO 80503



Question: If an armed citizen wants to meet you briefly, do you prefer a phone call, Zoom or other Internet meeting, or to talk in person?

Katherine A. Decker, Esq., Lynchburg, VA
I prefer a phone call; I will chat 10-15 minutes at no cost. If they wish to meet in person or over Zoom, I would charge them a consultation fee.

Alex M. Ooley & E. Michael Ooley, Borden, IN
If someone is interested in scheduling a telephone call, a Zoom meeting, or an in-person meeting, we’d suggest that they send us an email so that we can schedule a brief meeting.

Mark B. Bullman, Atlanta, GA
Just depends on where the person is and the purpose of their call/meet.

Miva VanEngen, Esq., Missoula, MT
I like to start with a phone call.

Duane A. Daiker, Tampa, FL
I prefer they send me an email so we can schedule.

Steven Oberman, Knoxville, TN
It is the client’s preference. We believe communication with a client is of the utmost importance. 

Jaimie Washo Spivey, Esq., Tavares, FL
I prefer a phone call but over the internet is fine too.

Travis J. Groat, Petoskey, MI
I prefer phone calls as they take up less time. If someone comes in, I have to block off a full hour. With a phone call, I can block off 15 minutes. 

Keith H. Rutman, San Diego, CA
Depends upon my availability. All are viable options.

Thomas S. Hale, Birmingham, AL
I prefer to meet in person, but if it is more convenient for the member to do a Zoom conference, that is my second preference, then a phone call as explained below.

John R. Monroe, Dawsonville, GA
The mode of a meeting is variable, depending on the needs of the client. Some people just want to say hi and have a name and phone number for emergencies, in which case a phone call or video call is adequate (and I will mail the member business cards to keep handy). Others have questions, about how things work, what to expect, etc., in which case a face-to-face meeting may be more appropriate. I don’t generally charge for the former, but I do for the latter, because I have to block out time on my calendar and keep records/notes from the meeting. 

Ralph D. Sherman, New Britain, CT

Fred L. Abrams, Esq., New York, NY
I prefer a phone call via my office number: 212-766-7275

Carl Jensen Great Falls, MT 
They can call or email me, and I’m happy to speak over the phone, video or in person.

Adam Dowling, Columbia, MO
Phone is my preference, but I’m happy to schedule an in-person appointment.

Damon Rogers, Esq., Los Angeles, CA
Phone or Zoom.

Craig R. Johnson, Provo, UT
Due to my busy court schedule, it is easier for me to take a phone call driving to and from hearings. 

Benjamin Blatt, South Bend, IN
Generally, I prefer to just talk over the phone, but I’ve done Zoom calls, and traveled to talk to small groups in neighboring counties. I’m flexible to an extent about working within the limitations of the person requesting information.

Larry Mertes, Longmont, CO
To simply answer questions, mostly by email or phone, sometimes by Zoom. If it is an urgent and on-going crisis, I’m at the jail or with my potential client where they need me most.

Question: How should a member contact you for a brief meeting (telephone, in person, email)?

Alex M. Ooley & E. Michael Ooley, Borden, IN
They can contact us directly by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or through the contact form on our website at https://ooleylaw.com/contact/.

Katherine A. Decker, Esq., Lynchburg, VA

Mark B. Bullman, Atlanta, GA 30342
Email first is usually best, but even if someone leaves a voice mail, we make it a point to call people back within 24 hours (some weekends and holidays it might be a bit longer, unless it is an emergency).

As a quick, general follow up, my partner and I are former law enforcement, so we generally do not handle criminal cases (just personal preference and because we are generally pro-law enforcement). However, we handle cases involving police misconduct focusing on civil rights. (Unfortunately, we have a good bit of policing issues in metro-Atlanta.) We also are willing to represent police officers who are wrongly pursued. So, while we don’t handle criminal cases, we do have a number of criminal attorneys we work with somewhat regularly, and we are happy to help with constitutional issues.

Miva VanEngen, Esq., Missoula, MT
Phone call.

Duane A. Daiker, Tampa, FL
We can schedule a no-charge telephone conference at a convenient time. I will share my cell phone number with them, and assure them that if I am not available, I have someone in my firm who will cover for me. I record their essential information and a few relevant details about them in my contact list so that if I receive a call on my cell phone, it doesn’t come up as a dreaded “unknown” number. Some of the members reach out to me every year when they renew their membership, just to make sure I’m still available, which I appreciate. 

Steven Oberman, Knoxville, TN
Telephone is preferred to avoid any miscommunication.

Jaimie Washo Spivey, Esq., Tavares, FL
Telephone or email is always best. 

Keith H. Rutman, San Diego, CA
Email details, then I’ll follow up with a call.

Thomas S. Hale, Birmingham, AL
The best way to reach me quickly is through a call to my direct dial number 205-453-9242, and if I do not answer right away, to please leave a message with a name and good number and I will return the call as soon as possible. Email is also okay (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) but that is risky, since I get so many spam mails every day, often 100 or more, and I rapidly delete them in bulk and may overlook a legitimate message.

John R. Monroe, Dawsonville, GA
I’m indifferent how a member contacts me. If it is not urgent, though, usually email is a good way to get the relationship started, because people can correspond via email not in real time.

Ralph D. Sherman, New Britain, CT
Phone or email.

Fred L. Abrams, Esq., New York, NY
A client can email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set up a brief “meeting” by phone.

Adam Dowling, Columbia, MO
Any of those methods are fine to contact me.

Damon Rogers, Esq., Los Angeles, CA
Email is best, and provide the member’s contact information (name, email, phone number).

Craig R. Johnson, Provo, UT
Text or email and we can set up a call.

Benjamin Blatt, South Bend, IN
I prefer contact by phone or email. If you see me in person and I’m not specifically at a location to talk about the subject, I’m probably in court working on someone else’s legal issues, or out and about on personal time. I don’t really do office hours/ walk-ins, but I answer my phone and email regularly.

Larry Mertes, Longmont, CO
An email works for simple questions, we can follow up for a conversation as needed.


Thank you, affiliated attorneys, for sharing your thoughts about members contacting attorneys. Members, please return next month when we have a new question topic.

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