ATTORNEY QUESTION OF THE MONTH
This month’s column concludes a topic we began in the March 2013 edition of this journal. If you have not read the March and April columns, please read them first, as the following information builds on those columns.
The Network stresses how important it is for members to have an attorney with whom they can consult both prior to and after needing to take self-defense actions. Our affiliated attorney lists, sorted by state and available to Network members only, offer a starting place for members’ attorney search. The choice of attorney rests solely with the individual member. In the same way, how affiliated attorneys interact with Network members is entirely up to the affiliate. Lawyers, influenced by individual experience, firm policy and how they practice law, prefer to interact with Network members in a variety of ways.
Not surprisingly, then, the following question generated a number of different answers that we hope our members found useful. We asked our Network Affiliated Attorneys–
“How do you recommend a Network member connect with an attorney for a brief consultation to be sure the member understands their state’s self-defense laws, as well as assuring themselves that the attorney is someone whom they want as their counselor after self defense?”
Kielsky Rike, PLLC
4635 S. Lakeshore Dr., Tempe, AZ 85282
The short and simple answer is to contact the attorney, making sure to state the following:
1. Was referred to the attorney by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, of which the attorney is a member and where the member obtained the attorney referral.
2. Would like a very brief in-person (or over-the-phone) consult with the attorney to introduce themselves and become acquainted with the attorney.
3. The member is intending to provide feedback to the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network regarding their experience with the attorney.
If all of those are communicated and the attorney (or their support staff or their firm) will not set an appointment (even a brief phone consult), then the member should communicate that to the Network, and the Network should consider whether that attorney is a proper affiliate attorney. After all, if the member is ever in a dire situation requiring immediate counsel, it is unlikely that this affiliate attorney could be engaged in a timely manner.
Jon H. Gutmacher, Esq.
Jon H. Gutmacher, P.A.
2431 Aloma Ave., Ste. 124, Winter Park, FL 32792
Most laymen are under the misimpression that they can schedule an appointment with a criminal trial attorney ahead of time–before anything happens–to make a personal evaluation of the attorney for possible future use. Unless the attorney is new in the practice or desperate for the business, that’s probably never going to happen. Criminal trial attorneys generally consult only on actual cases where an arrest has been made or there is a possibility of that actually happening in the near future.
An alternative would be where an individual is looking for legal advice on a specific and particular legal issue in order to avoid any potential problems with the law. In the latter instance, a consult fee on an hourly basis is the rule. In those other instances, where an arrest has been made or is probable, some attorneys charge a consultation fee and some don’t.
It depends totally on the attorney. This would also hold true for a person looking for an attorney to list on his or her gun association’s self-defense “insurance.” Without an actual case, it is generally considered a total waste of the attorney’s time for such a consult since it deals with “abstract” vs. real facts. In my practice, I don’t even accept such consults if the client is willing to pay my hourly fee. My opinion is that it is a pure waste of everyone’s time.