April 2013 - Pg 10-Attorney Question
to decide whether we would feel comfortable working together in the event they find themselves involved in a firearms- or self-defense-related incident. Even if we seem compatible, I do let them understand that, while I will certainly provide legal assistance to them if I am contacted in the immediate aftermath of a shooting or other critical event, whether or not I will agree to represent them going forward from that point, or in fact whether or not I am the best or most qualified attorney to assist them going forward, will remain to be determined by both of us at that time, not now. For this brief meeting, perhaps half an hour or so in length, I do not charge anything. Even when this option is chosen, it serves to create an “attorney-client” relationship between us for purposes of establishing the attorney-client privilege for everything we have discussed.
The other option I offer them is that they can come meet with me for what usually turns out to be an hour and a half or two hours, for which I will charge them a flat rate for our meeting. During this time, I find out more about them and their approach to self defense, their training or lack thereof, and so on. I then give them a concise but comprehensive briefing on the law of self defense in our state and also “generically,” and give them my recommendations on what to do in the immediate aftermath of a shooting. I also give them my suggestions about further education, training, equipment choices, and thinking they may wish to pursue with regard to their personal self-defense planning, and I answer any questions or concerns they may have. The flat rate I charge them for our meeting, which I have advised them of when we first scheduled our appointment, amounts to less than half my usual hourly charge for the time we spend.
So far every potential client who has contacted me has chosen “option two,” and has indicated that they felt they received more than their money’s worth, and that they were glad they did it this way.
For someone who choses this option, I set up a client file for billing purposes and for possible future use. In fact, most of these individuals have remained in occasional touch with me following our meeting.
Whichever option the client choses, they leave my office not only with my business card, but also with my cell and home telephone numbers and another way to contact me in an emergency, all of which numbers I recommend they carry in their wallet as well as program into their cell phones.
Fletcher & Phillips
541 E. Monroe St., Jacksonville, FL 32202
If my assistant informs me that a Network member wants to talk with me on a pre-need basis, I usually set up a phone consultation to discuss any concerns, or my qualifications and often will provide some advice regarding my preferred methods of how to report the incident to the police and myself should they have to act in self defense. If there is some reason or the client requests, I will offer an office consult. I offer pre-need office consults to CWFL holders on a discounted basis, with an additional discount if they are a Network member.
Phone consults are usually sufficient to resolve the potential client’s concerns or questions. Office consults are rare for pre-need questions. I think that most attorneys who are part of the Network are well versed in the concerns of gun owners and are more responsive when they know that a person is a member of this organization. My assistant has instructions to prioritize anything having to do with firearms to make sure I am aware of the issue.
This discussion continues next month, so check back for more attorney opinions from all across the country.
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