Marty-eJournal column pixIt’s a Matter of Trust

by Marty Hayes, J.D.

In this day and age of declining morals and decreasing personal responsibility, it is difficult to trust other people, especially people whom you have never met. This is especially true if money is involved. I know that, and it is one of the uphill climbs that we faced when we started the Network. Let me explain.

The whole Network is built upon trust. Members of the Network trust that we will indeed put the 25% of member dues into the Legal Defense Fund, and that fund will grow and be there for them if needed. Members of the Network trust that we will do what we say we will do. Members who have joined for more than the minimum one-year period trust that we will continue to be around for the length of their three- or ten-year membership term. A member of the Network must have a lot of trust in us.

One of the reasons that we originally asked our trustworthy friends in the industry–Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Tom Givens and the late Jim Cirillo–to be the initial members of our advisory board was to use their good names and reputations to lend credibility to the Network, as many people outside of the Pacific Northwest had no clue who Marty and Gila Hayes and Vincent Shuck were. I believed that the Advisory Board’s involvement would help prospective members trust us. Additionally, when we started recruiting members, I reached out to the firearms training community to help introduce us, as one of the most trustworthy people most new gun owners find is their first firearms instructors. We have grown as strong as we are primarily through that network of Affiliated Instructors and through gun shops participating in a parallel program.

None of this is news, and I know I’ve said it in this column before, but perhaps in different ways. I am saying it again because last week, we heard from a Network member who told us that he had contacted one of our Network Affiliated Attorneys. He told us that attorney wasn't completely on board with the idea of representing our member if needed, without being paid a retainer up front from the member. I called the attorney in question, and we had a nice chat about how the Network pays the deposit against fees to the attorney for initial representation of a member after self defense.

Now, just to clarify this part of our member benefit program, here is how it is supposed to work. First, the member is involved in a self-defense incident. Next, the member or a member’s trusted friend or family member either calls the attorney the member has pre-selected, or calls our Boots on the Ground phone number listed on the back of their membership card, and we help the member find an attorney. All this takes place as soon as possible after an incident.

Once an attorney is selected to represent the member, the attorney must be assured that he or she will, in fact, be paid, because if the attorney deems necessary, he or she will send investigators and other assistants out to the scene of the incident to help preserve the evidence and to interview possible witnesses. They will need to pay these investigators, and of course, the attorney also must be paid for his or her time, elsewise they couldn’t stay in business.

In one of the six cases the Network has handled for members so far, the member was asked by his attorney for a $1,800 retainer. The member had contacted this attorney outside the structure of the Network (that is to say, the attorney was not a Network Affiliated Attorney), and the attorney needed a retainer fee up front. When we found out about this, we told the attorney that we would send him the $1,800 and he could then reimburse the member for money the member paid up front. This was satisfactory to all concerned.