by Josh Amos, Affiliate Manager
One element in the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network service to our members is maintaining an ever-growing network of affiliated attorneys. The attorney network is constantly expanding and contracting; however, we launched a new recruiting effort this spring and I am happy to say that we have added over 200 new attorneys nationwide through our spring/summer 2022 campaign. These newly recruited attorneys are in addition to our existing network. I am proud of this milestone and thought this was a great time to revisit some of our suggestions for members wanting to connect with attorneys in their home states.
Network affiliated attorneys allow us to post their names and contact information in the member-only portion of the Network website. As you saw in the foregoing pages, many of our generous Network affiliated attorneys also contribute to our monthly online journal’s Attorney Question of the Month column, an entirely voluntary effort. I intentionally use the word “generous.”
Please understand that Network affiliated attorneys only get paid if they get a call to represent a member after the member has justifiably used force in self defense. That has only happened 29 times since the Network opened its doors in 2008, so some of our affiliated attorneys feel a little like the Maytag repair man waiting for the phone to ring.
We never tell a member that they must use a Network affiliated attorney “because we say so.” In fact, after a member legally defends himself or herself, we will fund any attorney a member chooses to represent them in the legal aftermath. If a member doesn’t have their own attorney, however, we offer our lists of affiliated attorneys to ease the task of identifying and meeting an attorney nearby before needing a lawyer.
To start, members should use our website’s geographical interface to identify affiliates within a 200 mile radius.
- Login to the members only area of the Network website (If unsure of your username and password, call us).
- Click the big red “Affiliates Near Me” link above and to the right of your name or if you plan to travel and wonder what affiliates are near your destination, browse to https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/our-affiliates/attorneys-map as illustrated to the right and enter the city and state or the zip code of the area you wish to research in the search box in the upper left.
- Click on the names of several of the affiliates closest to you.
If you want to call one or two of the affiliated attorneys closest to you, please follow some basic business courtesy guidelines.
The Introductory Call
If you want to do a pre-need call to introduce yourself, please follow these guidelines:
- Understand that when you call in, you will most likely talk to the receptionist, secretary or paralegal. Please know that is fine.
- Introduce yourself–
- “Hi, my name is …. and I am a member of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network. I saw Mr./Ms. Joe/Jane Attorney listed as an affiliate of the Network, and I am calling to make contact and make sure I know how I would engage the attorney’s services if I ever were to need legal representation.
- Ask three following questions:
- Is Mr./Ms. Attorney available to represent me if I call after a self-defense incident?
- How do I reach you for help after hours or on the weekend?
- Is there anything that you need me to know?
Then, hopefully, you won’t need to call them again, but if you do, you are calling a team with which you have already had contact. Alternatively, you can also provide the Network with the name and contact information for your chosen attorney. We store that information with your private membership record and if you have an incident in which you legitimately use force in self defense, we can engage the attorney you designated on your behalf.
The Network has invested considerable staff time to recruit affiliated attorneys and to maintain relationships with them. Our goal is for affiliated attorneys and their receptionists, clerks and paralegals to enjoy courteous, positive interactions with Network members so we can retain them as affiliates. When reaching out to Network affiliated attorneys, we ask members to avoid approaches that have created problems between in the past. We respectfully request that members avoid calling and trying to “screen” the attorney by asking about numerous hypothetical situations or what their “win-loss” record at trial is, as discussed in an article we published some years ago at https://armedcitizensnetwork.org/44-our-journal/263-finding-the-right-attorney.
Instead, we ask that you treat your contact with the law firm you would like to be able to call after a self-defense emergency much in the same way as you would approach a job interview or any other serious business meeting.
You may choose, at your own expense, to ask if the attorney can schedule a brief legal consultation with you to explore the laws of your state, how the local courts are treating use of force issues, or other matters that are heavily influenced by local trends. This could be accomplished by phone, Zoom or another online meeting service, or in person. If you do seek a consultation, please keep in mind that a law firm is a business, and you are proposing to become a client of that business. If you schedule a consultation, go into the meeting with a clear set of questions that bear on your legal well-being as an armed citizen about which you would like clarification, but keep in mind that every case has its own set of circumstances and the attorney may have to tell you that the answer is, “It depends…” because there’s a nearly endless array of possibilities that could unexpectedly be part of a situation you might face.
“But how can I figure out if the attorney is a good attorney?” is a common, plaintive question and one that we hear quite a bit. While, as I mentioned earlier, it is entirely voluntary, many of our affiliated attorneys contribute to the Attorney Question of the Month column in our online journal. Read it and keep an eye out for contributions from attorneys in your home state. We put a lot of effort into that column and so do the attorneys who contribute commentary and answers. Take advantage of it!
As armed citizens, our unusual level of preparation for needs that we hope to never face makes us unique. Not all attorneys and law firm partnerships are comfortable consulting with potential clients who have no pending legal matter that the attorney can resolve. As a result, the response of law firm receptionists and attorneys to pre-need contact is extremely varied.
The Network recognizes that a member may either not have chosen or been able to get to know an attorney in advance, or in today’s extremely mobile society, may have traveled for business or pleasure far from their home base. That’s one of the reasons we keep how we provide assistance to members after self defense extremely adaptable. One does not fit all! In many of our 29 member-involved cases since opening the Network in 2008, the member answered “No,” to one of our first questions, “Do you have an attorney? What’s their name?” When that happens, our first task is to connect the member with an attorney, determine if the member wants that attorney speaking on his or her behalf, and pay the law firm to get busy on behalf of the member as quickly as possible.
All our affiliated attorneys – long-standing and new – play an important role in getting members represented by counsel as quickly as possible after legitimate use of force in self defense. Please join me in welcoming these new affiliates to the Network. As we sometimes jokingly say, we hope our relationships between member, affiliated attorneys and the Network is long and boring, but if trouble does arise, we and our affiliated attorneys stand ready to help.
To read more of this month's journal, please click here.