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In response, we began to accumulate a list of gun-friendly attorneys, starting with the ones we and our advisory board knew, then reaching out to lawyers recommended by other armed citizens. By August 2010, we had hooked up with 48 affiliated attorneys in 27 states, and by then it was clear that we still had a long way to go. By April 2011, it was up to 167, but there was still a lot of geography over which we needed to search for a gun-friendly attorney with whom to affiliate. The list had exceeded 200 attorneys in 44 states by mid summer that year, and still we knew we had a lot of work to do. That number had risen to 260 by December of 2012, but you guessed it, we knew we needed more.

The Network Affiliated Attorney project grows primarily through the personal recommendations of Network members. For example, if Joseph in Cincinnati knows a good, gun-friendly attorney, it only makes sense for the Network to invite that attorney to affiliate with us so Sam, who lives outside Cincinnati but is willing to drive an hour to confer with a good pro-gun lawyer, can benefit from Joe’s knowledge and experience. That is networking at its best, and now, six years down the road, has given us an Affiliated Attorney list of 345 attorneys in all but four states, and fortunately, attorneys across an adjacent state border are licensed to serve members in two of those.

Additionally, for members who traveling away from home or are more than several hours away from an affiliated attorney, the Network has the Boots on the Ground alternative, through which the member who has been in a shooting can get help finding an attorney by phoning the Network during office hours or calling Marty Hayes privately after business hours. This back up plan is an expansion of benefits that we added in March of 2010 to better serve Network members.

As an unexpected side effect to building alliances with gun-owning attorneys, in November of 2009, we introduced what would become one of the most popular columns in this online journal, the Affiliated Attorney Question of the Month.

Since then, our Affiliates have helped answer questions with a national flavor, and at other times, explained the law from their own state ranging from the legalities of shooting an attacking dog to warrantless searches under exigent circumstances and much more. We learn a lot from these commentaries.

When the answers from the various attorneys are at odds, I always know we’ve asked a good question! That happened one time when we asked affiliated attorneys to comment on prosecutorial misconduct. Some said it was extremely rare and others said it was commonplace where they practiced, while others said that while it didn’t happen very often, they had encountered it in their practice. I think we learn more when the answers do not all fall in line. Just as Socrates encouraged debate as a teaching method, reading a number of comments coming from such a wide variety of experiences, backgrounds, and locales is an extraordinary opportunity to learn from gun-owning attorneys located all across the nation.

The Affiliated Attorney project is one of those jobs that will never be done, and as membership in the Network grows, so does the numbers of lawyers one member knows and can recommend for another member. That’s networking and it’s a successful strategy.

Education Through Affiliations

The Network embarked on another type of networking during our first year, too. Offering complimentary membership in the Network to professional firearms instructors who would in turn introduce, explain and recommend Network membership to their students has proven one of our strongest outreach tools. Few messages are as compelling as a trusted instructor telling his or her students, “The Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network is an organization to which you need to belong so you don’t stand alone in the legal aftermath of self defense.”

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