How do you find an attorney for retainer? - Page 5

How do you find an attorney for retainer?

This is a discussion on How do you find an attorney for retainer? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by JohnLeVick 74, I'm curious: Did you pay an attorney a "retainer" to insure that you could hire that attorney if you have ...

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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnLeVick View Post
    74, I'm curious: Did you pay an attorney a "retainer" to insure that you could hire that attorney if you have to shoot someone, and for no other reason? I.e., has that attorney done no legal work for you yet, despite your having paid the "retainer?" If so, that troubles me. As I mentioned before, I've never heard of that being done, and I'm not sure that it is allowed under the code of ethics. If the money is being held in a trust account, I guess it would be okay, but it is odd.
    John- it's actually not odd, it's a very commonly-done thing to have an attorney on retainer, for any number of reasons or purposes and not just self-defense.

    The way it works is that there is indeed a trust account that is set up for that specific purpose- in fact it is required to be that way for the firm to have the client's funds separate from its own. There is an agreed upon amount, in my case not all that much, that is put into that trust account as a kind of pre-pay for the attorney to bill against should it become necessary. It is also fully refundable- they cannot just keep it should the relationship end. In the event that the funds are depleted, more would be supplied for further billing.

    This attorney has been hired and I can consider him to be "my attorney" should the need arise. That means I can call him at any time if I need him, day or night. And again, it could be for other things as well.

    I did in fact meet with him at some length to determine if he was the right one to work with, so in effect he has done some work for me. I was able to learn how he might handle some things initially. That was worth knowing. I did do a fair amount of research before contacting him and indirectly knew of a case he handled for someone else. And one thing I mentioned above was that even though you might think it would be easy to find someone to represent you, in this case it was not. Many firms just don't want to do criminal work. I also wanted a firm and not just a solo practitioner, in case this guy himself was not immediately available at that exact time.


  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMac View Post
    That, my dear friend, is the key question here. Only you can answer that for yourself.
    Agreed.

  3. #63
    Member Array Flasher's Avatar
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    Excellent posts here. I believe I'll be putting an attorney on retainer.

    Another reason to go to the gun shop! Yay!
    "How much self-defense is too much?"

    A prudent one foresees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished. - Proverbs 22:3

  4. #64
    Senior Member Array JohnLeVick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 74 View Post
    John- it's actually not odd, it's a very commonly-done thing to have an attorney on retainer, for any number of reasons or purposes and not just self-defense.

    The way it works is that there is indeed a trust account that is set up for that specific purpose- in fact it is required to be that way for the firm to have the client's funds separate from its own. There is an agreed upon amount, in my case not all that much, that is put into that trust account as a kind of pre-pay for the attorney to bill against should it become necessary. It is also fully refundable- they cannot just keep it should the relationship end. In the event that the funds are depleted, more would be supplied for further billing.

    This attorney has been hired and I can consider him to be "my attorney" should the need arise. That means I can call him at any time if I need him, day or night. And again, it could be for other things as well.

    I did in fact meet with him at some length to determine if he was the right one to work with, so in effect he has done some work for me. I was able to learn how he might handle some things initially. That was worth knowing. I did do a fair amount of research before contacting him and indirectly knew of a case he handled for someone else. And one thing I mentioned above was that even though you might think it would be easy to find someone to represent you, in this case it was not. Many firms just don't want to do criminal work. I also wanted a firm and not just a solo practitioner, in case this guy himself was not immediately available at that exact time.
    Interesting. Believe me, I know how trust accounts work (lawyers who don't will often find themselves involuntarily in a different profession), but your arrangement is not common, regardless of what you may have been told. It is good that you met with him, but the whole thing you've described raises some flags to me. No one has to pay me anything for me to be "his lawyer," unless there is imminent legal work to be done, and I wouldn't trouble our bookkeeper with a piddly sum to put in trust, when it would likely never be billed against.

    The way a retainer arrangement works, or, at least, the way it is supposed to work, is like this: Joe Client has been sued, and needs an answer filed. He comes to me, I listen to him, talk to him, read the petition (complaint, in NM or Federal Court) and any other pertinent documents, and I decide if I want to represent him, while he decides if he wants to hire me. If I take the case, I MAY or MAY NOT require the payment of a retainer, which will usually be non-refundable, and will be billed against at my hourly rate.

    One of the first things a law student learns is that an attorney-client relationship can be, and often is, established without the payment of any money by the client. Attorneys representing personal injury claimants are rarely ever paid unless and until there is a settlement or judgment paid, but that doesn't make their clients any less "theirs."

    On the contrary, if someone calls me up and says, "I think I might want to hire you if I ever get sued for shooting someone." I'll find a time to talk to him, he'll come in, we'll visit, and he'll leave, all of which will be free. If he ever needs to hire me, THEN, he might be required to pay a retainer.
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  5. #65
    Senior Member Array DoctorBob's Avatar
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    WOW! Sorry MadMac. This topic really seemed to get you to 'flame on.'

    An awful lot of responses seemed to knock ACLDN - after people admitted that they were not members and hadn't been to the web site.
    Here's my recommendation: Go to the site : What is the Mission of the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network?
    and read what they are about. I admit the 'insurance analogy' is not a good one. I apologize for using it. I also confess to having read In The Gravest Extreme and I'm planning on taking one of Ayoob's courses on Self Defense. I figure that if I am going to carry, I should be aware of and prepared for some of the most serious potential consequences. You could argue that the liklihood that I will ever have to display, much less use, my weapon is very small. I sure hope you are right. On the other hand, I did diagnose a patient with a pheochromocytoma once and that's pretty rare, too. I guess I should not have studied that problem since finding one was such a rare event.

    I think there are different approaches to risk taking. Some people feel that they can inform themselves and pre-plan how to respond - it's called training. Others figure they can work it out at the time or that it won't probably happen. Whatever floats your boat...

  6. #66
    Ex Member Array MadMac's Avatar
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    Gee, Doc, sorry if I seemed to "flame on".... I am far from exorcised over this topic. Your analogies and comparisons are simply not pertinent. If you're a doctor, studying rare diseases is part of your learning process. Do you tell all your young patients that they need to take daily precautions against getting a pheochromocytoma tumor? Would you demand they read up on this rare tumor and know potential symptoms by heart? Would you tell their parents they need to keep a close eye out for potential symptoms on a weekly basis? I'll bet the answer is no. Why? Because it's rare.

    We aren't talking about health care, this is personal risk management. You don't have to hope I am right about the low probability of needing your firearm for SD. Hope is not a strategy. Unless you are in a special social or socio-economic group, the chance of needing a firearm for SD is very, very low.

    ...and before all the regular armchair commandoes jump ugly on me, here are my caveats: I am not saying you shouldn't carry, I am not saying nothing like this happens to "good" people. It does. I am not saying you cannot show me anecdotes where this has happened. &c. So relax, Francis - it's simply a discussion.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with reading books or taking classes. I do like to point out, however, that what I see posted here about "training my hardest" or "being the best trained concealed carrier" etc. is pretty bogus. No one has been able to even define what kind of training is necessary. How much annual training? Quarterly training? Weekly practice? How much should one invest in said training? Is it only using a pistol for SD, or does it include martial arts, hand-to-hand, knife-fighting, etc.? Should you spend hours each week practicing your quick draw like the experienced shooter who ends up putting two holes in his leg?

    Also, I did look at the website. They don't say how large the "Network" is, and the three officers of the company have the vast majority of their experience in firearms training, not law or insurance. (Yes, the head guy got a law degree later in his career after running a firearms training school). It's like the boobs who join AARP - a large insurance company that poses as an advocacy group in order to sell insurance to old people who are looking with trepidation at the end of their days.

    In other words, you're buying into some kind of legal defense fund run by pistoleros and gun training folks. Say someone joins their "Network", and ends up getting into a drunken brawl with some other dipstick and shoots him dead in "self defense". Does the ACLDN guarantee they'll put their gun training reputation on the line for this network member? If the answer is no, then there is your answer. Being a member in no way guarantees you even the basic support they promise. They have too many caveats and weasel words to back out of supporting you. Maybe they decide YOUR SD shooting was a bit too questionable, and refuse to provide you any support. What's your fallback to the money you spent with them? Now you have to sue them, as well as defend against a nasty DA.

    Personally, I don't buy guns from my insurance salesman, and I wouldn't by insurance from a gun trainer. It's not pre-planning, it's preposterous.
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  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMac View Post
    Also, I did look at the website. They don't say how large the "Network" is, and the three officers of the company have the vast majority of their experience in firearms training, not law or insurance. (Yes, the head guy got a law degree later in his career after running a firearms training school). It's like the boobs who join AARP - a large insurance company that poses as an advocacy group in order to sell insurance to old people who are looking with trepidation at the end of their days.

    In other words, you're buying into some kind of legal defense fund run by pistoleros and gun training folks. Say someone joins their "Network", and ends up getting into a drunken brawl with some other dipstick and shoots him dead in "self defense". Does the ACLDN guarantee they'll put their gun training reputation on the line for this network member? If the answer is no, then there is your answer. Being a member in no way guarantees you even the basic support they promise. They have too many caveats and weasel words to back out of supporting you. Maybe they decide YOUR SD shooting was a bit too questionable, and refuse to provide you any support. What's your fallback to the money you spent with them? Now you have to sue them, as well as defend against a nasty DA.

    Personally, I don't buy guns from my insurance salesman, and I wouldn't by insurance from a gun trainer. It's not pre-planning, it's preposterous.
    While these concerns are valid, and I would ask them before I actually signed up, not having the answers doesn't exclude the possibility of signing up for this service for me.

    They mention somewhere on that site that that you can see their list of member attorneys after you have login credentials to the site. Before giving them any money, I would ask how many representative attorneys they have from my home state. Since they're based in my state, I would imagine that this state has the best representation. This may not be the case for your own state.

    Interesting stuff from What is the role of the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Fund?:

    The Network is a powerful series of up-front benefits and services provided directly to you and your attorney, not a fee-based reimbursement service or insurance program. If a member is involved in a self-defense incident, a fee deposit is paid to the member's attorney by the Network to get the legal defense immediately underway, with representation during questioning, and an independent investigation of the incident. If the incident results in felony charges the fee deposit is $10,000; if the member faces misdemeanor charges, a $5,000 fee deposit is sent to his or her attorney.

    Network members have access to contact information for Network-affiliated attorneys, are entitled to case review by one of the Network experts and the assistance of expert witnesses. These powerful benefits are included in the Network memership fee. In addition, distribution of monetary grants to help with legal fees is at the discretion of the Network’s Advisory Board, which includes Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Jim Fleming, Tom Givens, Dennis Tueller and Network officers, Marty Hayes and Vincent Shuck, as ex officio members.

  8. #68
    Ex Member Array MadMac's Avatar
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    Are you aware what the Latin title of ex-officio means, and what an advisory board does?

    I'd suggest you look it up those terms. They don't claim these pistoleros and gun training experts will show up at your trial.

    A lawyer gets his/her name on the list by filling in a form for the ACLDN which allows them to get referrals.

    I guarantee they will not be putting their money at risk for a bad shoot, so that leaves the door open for them to deny anyone the promised "coverage" based on their opinion of the incident. If you want to pay their fees so you can troll through a list of potential lawyers, feel free. The phone book and internet are free.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMac View Post
    Are you aware what the Latin title of ex-officio means, and what an advisory board does?

    I'd suggest you look it up those terms. They don't claim these pistoleros and gun training experts will show up at your trial.

    A lawyer gets his/her name on the list by filling in a form for the ACLDN which allows them to get referrals.

    I guarantee they will not be putting their money at risk for a bad shoot, so that leaves the door open for them to deny anyone the promised "coverage" based on their opinion of the incident. If you want to pay their fees so you can troll through a list of potential lawyers, feel free. The phone book and internet are free.
    I'm surprised to see so much anger from you on this. Yes, I know that these guys may not show up at my trial, probably won't, in point of fact. But the fact that these guys are available to the network, and that they do indeed serve in an advisory capacity is an ADVANTAGE.

    Also, the list of member attorneys they provide has one distinct advantage over the "free" phone book and internet listings. Any idiot can get in the phone book and slap up a web page. The ones on this list have volunteered to be on a list provided to firearms owners in case something go south. I also assume (and would verify before signing up) that in order to get on the list, they've probably gone through some kind of vetting process.

    Basically, for a nominal fee (have you seen how cheap this is? See below...) you get potential access to some well-known names in the field of defensive firearms training and writing, a decent list of lawyers who have chosen to be on a pro-gun website with a focus on defensive law, and a substantial deposit paid to an attorney who can start on your case right away.

    Sure, there are some questions you'd be stupid not to get answered, but for the cost you can hardly go wrong if those answers are satisfactory.

    Network membership costs $85 per year and additional household members may be added to the membership for an additional $50/yr. each

  10. #70
    Ex Member Array MadMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by livewire9880 View Post
    I'm surprised to see so much anger from you on this. Yes, I know that these guys may not show up at my trial, probably won't, in point of fact. But the fact that these guys are available to the network, and that they do indeed serve in an advisory capacity is an ADVANTAGE.

    Also, the list of member attorneys they provide has one distinct advantage over the "free" phone book and internet listings. Any idiot can get in the phone book and slap up a web page. The ones on this list have volunteered to be on a list provided to firearms owners in case something go south. I also assume (and would verify before signing up) that in order to get on the list, they've probably gone through some kind of vetting process.

    Basically, for a nominal fee (have you seen how cheap this is? See below...) you get potential access to some well-known names in the field of defensive firearms training and writing, a decent list of lawyers who have chosen to be on a pro-gun website with a focus on defensive law, and a substantial deposit paid to an attorney who can start on your case right away.

    Sure, there are some questions you'd be stupid not to get answered, but for the cost you can hardly go wrong if those answers are satisfactory.
    Dude,

    Quick gut check here for you. I am not angry. Have you ever seen me angry? No? Then you don't know angry. I am discussing this, and happen to simply disagree with your assessment of the value of the ersatz "insurance" scheme. :)

    Let me address the other highlighted sections. Yes, any idiot can get in the phone book and set-up a webpage. Any idiot can even establish a pseudo-insurance company, set up a web page with a bunch of names on it, and collect money from other idiots. If you are ever charged with a crime for using your handgun, you won't be needing Sergeant York or Wild Bill Hikok to come to the stand for you. In fact, having a gun expert on the defense may work against you. They didn't see anything, and can't testify to your skills (or lack thereof). What "advantage" do these guys bring?

    You also use the term volunteer. Let's see - do you work for free? No? Well, neither do I, and I suspect no one in the ACLDN is doing this for charity, either. You seem to think they do some type of vetting of their listed attorneys. When you find out what they really do, please come back here and let us know, will you?

  11. #71
    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    Mad Mac,

    You and I and quite a few folks have covered this in another post asking about USCCA's Defense Shield. I did a fairly in depth comparison of Defense Shield and ACLDN. Someone else added MMD insurance to the mix.

    It's all >>>Right here<<<

    After all the discussion, I tend to believe that it it "on us" (as Permit holders) to know the law well enough that we won't be a party to a "bad shoot." That's not to say we won't be tried by an over zealous prosecutor, or be subject to a civil suit.

    But, I have come to the conclusion that in the very, very unlikely event I am involved in a self defense shooting, that the chances are better than not that No Bill would be the Grand Jury verdict, and that the chances of a civil suit succeeding would make it beyond dismissal as frivolous be even less.

    The bottom line for me is that my money can be better spent on training and practice.
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    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

  12. #72
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    193 attornies in 44 states; 8 in Florida.
    If you really felt you needed an attorney on retainer, this list might be a place to start. I don't see the point of having one on retainer but I have added Jon Gutmacher's number to my iphone...
    Last edited by DoctorBob; August 4th, 2011 at 06:00 PM.

  13. #73
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    There's these guys too:

    CHLPP is a legal services membership organization for concealed handgun licence/permit holders

    They were recommended in a book I was reading. Sounds pretty similar to to ACLDN, but different in some ways. For the cost ($129 for CHLPP, $85 for ACLDN), I think it's a good investment so long as it's not a front for a company that doesn't really exist. Like I said before, make sure your questions are answered to your satisfaction, but considering the amount of money in question if you DON'T have something like this...

  14. #74
    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    Livewire,

    You seem intent on purchasing some sort of self defense insurance. If it will offer you piece of mind, please, go ahead and do it.
    Research you purchase, get what you want, and live with it.

    I understand your concern. In the case of real insurance which seems to be MMD, and Defense Shield, the reason the rates are relatively low in comparison to the premium, tells me the companies are not assuming much risk. They have actuaries that determine the risk of payout.

    Both of the others (ACLDN and CHLPP) seem to be associations, or clubs, which may or may not pay.

    For my money, I believe the best bet is to know the law well enough that I won't make a mistake should I ever have to use my weapon for self defense, and I will be trained enough to know when I have no choice but to use it... Which should nearly guarantee that no suit, criminal or civil will ensue.
    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

  15. #75
    VIP Member Array livewire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oakchas View Post
    Livewire,

    You seem intent on purchasing some sort of self defense insurance. If it will offer you piece of mind, please, go ahead and do it.
    Research you purchase, get what you want, and live with it.

    I understand your concern. In the case of real insurance which seems to be MMD, and Defense Shield, the reason the rates are relatively low in comparison to the premium, tells me the companies are not assuming much risk. They have actuaries that determine the risk of payout.

    Both of the others (ACLDN and CHLPP) seem to be associations, or clubs, which may or may not pay.

    For my money, I believe the best bet is to know the law well enough that I won't make a mistake should I ever have to use my weapon for self defense, and I will be trained enough to know when I have no choice but to use it... Which should nearly guarantee that no suit, criminal or civil will ensue.
    I don't know about "intent on", I've been talking about it for two years :)

    But I see the validity of it. I don't have the $10k most lawyers will want to take my case, legitimate or not. Both of the services I looked into don't guarantee much beyond paying that $5-10k for the lawyer to initially take your case. In both services, it appears that beyond that you may or may not be responsible for additional fees. I don't mind the idea of being indebted to a lawyer for keeping me out of prison on a defensive shoot, but without a service like that, I might not be able to get a lawyer at all.

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