Prepaid Legal Services as legal defense?

This is a discussion on Prepaid Legal Services as legal defense? within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I was approached to buy a Prepaid legal membership. In general that seems like a good idea to me, but it would be nice to ...

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Thread: Prepaid Legal Services as legal defense?

  1. #1
    Member Array Olsen's Avatar
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    Prepaid Legal Services as legal defense?

    I was approached to buy a Prepaid legal membership. In general that seems like a good idea to me, but it would be nice to know if anyone in here is members? And also, if it would be a good to use in defense to a shooting and its aftermath?

    The guy selling me this did not know about it so I have contacted the corporate office and as I wait for a respond I figured I should check with you guys.

    Here is the main page
    The cost is $26 a month and here is the section of "Trial services":

    "Trial Defense Services

    Lawsuits cause tremendous emotional and financial stress. Your Pre-Paid Legal membership offers assistance when you need it most.

    Up to 75 hours of lawyer time...

    During your first membership year, you have up to 75 hours of your Provider Lawyer's time at no additional cost when you or your spouse is named defendant or respondent in a covered civil or criminal action filed in a court of law. The criminal action must be one which arises out of the direct performance of the covered person's employment activities. Your Provider Firm can advise you of the documents required to determine coverage under this benefit.

    Of these 75 hours, up to 17.5 hours may be used for all legal services rendered in defense of the covered suit prior to actual trial. Up to 57.5 of the remaining hours are available for actual trial time including covered criminal preliminary hearings.

    Your hours of service increase...

    When you renew your membership, your hours of lawyer time increase as follows:

    2nd year renewal: Up to 140 hours of assistance at no additional charge including up to 23 hours of pre-trial time.

    3rd year renewal: Up to 205 hours of assistance at no additional charge including up to 28.5 hours of pre-trial time.

    4th year renewal: Up to 270 hours of assistance at no additional charge including up to 34 hours of pre-trial time.

    5th year renewal: Up to 335 hours of assistance at no additional charge including up to 39.5 hours of pre-trial time."

    Any thoughts?
    IDPA, USPSA, NRA & USCCA!

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  3. #2
    Member Array MSteve's Avatar
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    The criminal action must be one which arises out of the direct performance of the covered person's employment activities.
    That line would make me wonder if it's worth it, unless you are a cop and woried about on duty shoots not going in your favor. I could see it as useful for a civil suit, though, in the instance of the guy (or family of) you shot suing you.
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    Distinguished Member Array bigmacque's Avatar
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    You can purchase employment practice liability insurance for far less than that, and that comes with free legal services.
    And the way liar....er, sorry, lawyers bill hours, that 75 hours could be gone after the first phone call. Basically, anytime they think about your case(s) they're going to bill you some percentage of an hour.
    I'm in favor of gun control -- I think every citizen should have control of a gun.
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    Senior Member Array preachertim's Avatar
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    Sounds Good to me
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  6. #5
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Just say no...

  7. #6
    Member Array merischino's Avatar
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    Hi there. I have had Prepaid Legal for several years. I have not had an occasion to use them yet... sort of. But we can talk about that offline.

    I will say this: I would not rely on a lawyer TBD of a background TBD to assigned TBD for any potential gun-related lawyering I might need. I have looked, a little, into some ideas for what I might want to do for "insurance" now that I know how to shoot a gun... but never for even a heartbeat did I (do I) think of Prepaid Legal as that lawyer. Now, its entirely possible I am being unfair, but Prepaid Legal is a company that makes its name for being your standby lawyer for mainstream legal issues. As a member, I would consider them right away for things like... wills, child custody, pre-nups, possibly divorce (who knows? maybe worth a call) landlord-tenant issues. I would not consider them immediately for what I would consider niche legal needs, things like criminal defense (you want someone who is not only a criminal trial lawyer, but someone who has experience with your particular category of alleged offense) or disability or what have you. Again, you probably want to research Prepaid Legal specifically for the kinds of legal care you anticipate having a need for... they could be just right for your legal needs. I just don't think that I, personally, want to rely on them for that.

    What I do think is a sound financial decision as regards having some kind of support network should a gun-related incident arise would be the Armed Citizens Network.

    They seem like an incredibly knowledgeable, well-organized, serious, pro-active, full-time gun-related advocacy kind of organization, and for $85 a year, you can have some peace of mind that when the **** hits the fan, folks who KNOW from guns will back you up in court.

    I think if you go read their website you will be surprised and impressed with the caliber of folks who have founded and are running this organization. And although he is not the guy running the show, Massad Ayoob plays no small part in caring for the flock both in contributing to your education with articles in the newsletter (they let you read those for free at the site... definitely worth a look) and although I have no reason to believe he limits his support as a subject matter expert witness in court cases to only members, he is among the cadre of qualified knowledgeable folks who through this legal defense fund might be empowered to come to your aid you if you need it.

    I'm not a member yet but I've had them earmarked ever since I decided to pursue this gun thing, and I plan on it. Maybe I'll make it a priority to get that little checkmark on my to-do list this month.

    I should clarify: these are not lawyers. This is not an insurance plan. It's a Legal Defense Fund. Rather than explain them myself I'll just lift a paragraph from their site to let them explain it themselves. If you read something you like, go check them out. There's plenty more available to read there. I am in no way affiliated with them.

    Excerpt below is from this site: http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/learn
    The Network is such a new and unique organization that folks frequently mistake the Network for many things it is not when they hear about us through word of mouth! During our first year and a half of operation, we have been asked if the Network is an attorney referral service, a prepaid-legal scheme, or an insurance plan, to name only a few misconceptions. The Network is none of those things!

    The Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC is an organization of gun owners pooling their strength to protect one another when, after using a gun in self defense, a member comes under scrutiny of the legal system. Just as the earliest labor unions were mere groups of workers joined together to prevent abuse of individual workers, Network members have joined, not because they expect to get in a shooting, but because they are well aware of the abuses the legal system can enact against the innocent man or women forced to use a gun to defend self or family.

    Members recognize that while the individual may not carry much weight against the legal system, the strength of the organization, its experts and the fund amassed from 25% of all membership dues provides much more power with which to protect that individual member’s legal rights and legal survival.


    In addition to them, I have been becoming familiar with those few lawyers in my state that are vocal advocates of the carry community. I have purchased and am reading a book written by one such firearm-forward lawyer, and have made contact with and have the phone number of another. I am very new to all this, but I would recommend that for something as specialized as this particular subject, you probably want to have some knowledge of your potential defender prior to any incident, rather than going through an uncomfortable "how do you feel about firearms" dance with a lawyer who maybe doesnt support gun rights and most likely considers a legal success in your case to be avoiding actual trial time by making a deal, or worse who totally misunderstands how to represent you because representing a 'criminal offense' situation is completely different from representing a 'justifiable homicide'. I put those in quotes because I'm not sure of the official appropriate phraseology to use. Just that Self-Defense when justified is a situation where certain things absolutely should be said and done which your average, even your ultra-experienced criminal defense lawyer would not necessarily know to abide by.
    Last edited by merischino; September 7th, 2010 at 01:34 PM. Reason: Added last two sentences.
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  8. #7
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merischino View Post

    I am very new to all this, but I would recommend that for something as specialized as this particular subject, you probably want to have some knowledge of your potential defender prior to any incident, rather than going through an uncomfortable "how do you feel about firearms" dance with a lawyer who maybe doesnt support gun rights and most likely considers a legal success in your case to be avoiding actual trial time by making a deal, or worse who totally misunderstands how to represent you because representing a 'criminal offense' situation is completely different from representing a 'justifiable homicide'.
    See ACDL Network Journal, May 2010 attorney response to Monthly question.
    Guess which author...

    As to defending a self defense case as if it was a criminal case...

    Guess what? It IS a criminal case.

    It is a specific subset of criminal defense that requires the application of different tactics...but still, it's a criminal defense matter.

    As to making deals...that's a function of the situation. Situational.

    People don't always act perfectly when defending themselves. It's a ugly fact that a lot of people are so very poorly informed (or willfully ignorant) about the justified use of force (due in no small part to the error-net...I mean, the internet) that they screw up.

    A lot.

    They draw a weapon before it's justified.

    They shoot when the threat is not imminent, or when an opportunity that a reasonable person would use to leave or deescalate the situation comes up, they don't take it.

    They continue attacking after the attacker is incapacitated.


    If you were sitting in the hallway of the courthouse looking at walking into the courtroom and knowing you were going to plead guilty to assault with a deadly weapon and take 4 years, suspended after 18 months (of which you have to serve 13 months) and 5 years probation...or plead not guilty, go to trial, and roll the dice on attempted murder with the accompanying 15 year stretch...

    Yeah, yeah...I know. Roll the dice because you were defending yourself...

    Easy to say sitting in your living room.

    Harder to say when the judge is waiting for your answer.

    Do Massad Ayoob's MAG-40 class.

    You will like it, and it will be a great guide to the justified use of lethal force.

    If you want to learn how to run a gun, I'd take other classes before this one.
    If you want to know WHEN to run the gun, Ayoob is the man.

  9. #8
    Member Array LawyerDagget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olsen View Post
    Of these 75 hours, up to 17.5 hours may be used for all legal services rendered in defense of the covered suit prior to actual trial. Up to 57.5 of the remaining hours are available for actual trial time including covered criminal preliminary hearings.

    Your hours of service increase...

    When you renew your membership, your hours of lawyer time increase as follows:

    2nd year renewal: Up to 140 hours of assistance at no additional charge including up to 23 hours of pre-trial time.

    3rd year renewal: Up to 205 hours of assistance at no additional charge including up to 28.5 hours of pre-trial time.

    4th year renewal: Up to 270 hours of assistance at no additional charge including up to 34 hours of pre-trial time.

    5th year renewal: Up to 335 hours of assistance at no additional charge including up to 39.5 hours of pre-trial time."

    Any thoughts?
    17.5 hours of pre-trial work on a shooting case, whether a dead body is present or not is not adequate. You are either going to pay more or the work done will be insufficient. The lawyer also will be in an ethical box if there is more work to be done and you cannot pay more. Something has to give in that situation. YMMV based upon the ethics of the lawyer, and the lawyer agreeing to handle a shooting case from these prepaid legal outfits, which only allows for that much prep time, I would argue is acting unethically from the start.

    You honestly need more pre-trial work time than trial time in most cases by far. Bottom line is that if you shoot someone and need civil or criminal representation you want more than this deal provides, when your freedom is on the line or everything you have worked for in your life, don't cut this corner...

    IAAL,IANYL

    Let me also echo Mitchell above, I recently took MAG-40 in Memphis, it was more than worth my time & money and I practice law. It is worth your time and money. Would you buy pre-paid medical services that limit up front what your doctor can do for you regardless of what you need?

  10. #9
    Distinguished Member Array tcox4freedom's Avatar
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    I've had PPL for over a decade. (almost 20yrs)

    I've used them for any # of things. (Mostly questions, contract reviews and ticket defense.) They have saved me over $25,000 dollars in legal fees that would have resulted from a few bad "business" decisions and personal mis-steps. (I've more than received my money's worth from their services.)

    The one thing that I like about PPL is a 24/7; 365; 50 state coverage. This means I can immediately arrange for an attorney anytime, anywhere!

    If I ever get into a defensive situation that I need an attorney immediately, this service is good to have. I may not ultimately use them for a "trial" defense. But for "bail" or legal questions, they are worth the money. There attorneys are the "HIGHEST" ranked attorneys you can find. (PPL chooses them because they are the BEST in their states.)

    Even "IF" I choose NOT to utilize a PPL attorney for any reason, they have an outstanding refferal network!

    All of this makes PrePaid Legal Services an invaluable service for me; as a CWP holder that travels to different states.

  11. #10
    Member Array Olsen's Avatar
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    Tcox:
    Hehe, you sounded like the guy who tried to sell me this thing.. I am still discussing it with myself.

    But I am not sure I can justify $27 a month or over 300 dollars a year for what I get in return. Sure, $300 is about a phone call to a lawyer but all I really see a benefit in is the 1 letter they give. Unlimited phone consultation am sure would be beneficial in some cases but only one letter OR phone call pr matter seems not enough to me. Does things really get solved with one letter? I would have to pay for the 2, 3, and 4..Sadly it is only trial hours that increases with the length of my maintained membership.

    While, as mentioned, I am sure they are nice to use for argue a ticket, or deal with a difficult or loud neighbor but when I would need a lawyer am not sure this would do it for me.

    However, Thanks for all input!
    IDPA, USPSA, NRA & USCCA!

  12. #11
    Member Array PSLOwner's Avatar
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    I have them but I have not had the need to use their services.

    I do however, have a friend who has used them quite a bit for general legal services (no trials) and speaks highly of them.

  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array Jason Storm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merischino View Post
    Hi there. I have had Prepaid Legal for several years. I have not had an occasion to use them yet... sort of. But we can talk about that offline.

    I will say this: I would not rely on a lawyer TBD of a background TBD to assigned TBD for any potential gun-related lawyering I might need. I have looked, a little, into some ideas for what I might want to do for "insurance" now that I know how to shoot a gun... but never for even a heartbeat did I (do I) think of Prepaid Legal as that lawyer. Now, its entirely possible I am being unfair, but Prepaid Legal is a company that makes its name for being your standby lawyer for mainstream legal issues. As a member, I would consider them right away for things like... wills, child custody, pre-nups, possibly divorce (who knows? maybe worth a call) landlord-tenant issues. I would not consider them immediately for what I would consider niche legal needs, things like criminal defense (you want someone who is not only a criminal trial lawyer, but someone who has experience with your particular category of alleged offense) or disability or what have you. Again, you probably want to research Prepaid Legal specifically for the kinds of legal care you anticipate having a need for... they could be just right for your legal needs. I just don't think that I, personally, want to rely on them for that.

    What I do think is a sound financial decision as regards having some kind of support network should a gun-related incident arise would be the Armed Citizens Network.

    They seem like an incredibly knowledgeable, well-organized, serious, pro-active, full-time gun-related advocacy kind of organization, and for $85 a year, you can have some peace of mind that when the **** hits the fan, folks who KNOW from guns will back you up in court.

    I think if you go read their website you will be surprised and impressed with the caliber of folks who have founded and are running this organization. And although he is not the guy running the show, Massad Ayoob plays no small part in caring for the flock both in contributing to your education with articles in the newsletter (they let you read those for free at the site... definitely worth a look) and although I have no reason to believe he limits his support as a subject matter expert witness in court cases to only members, he is among the cadre of qualified knowledgeable folks who through this legal defense fund might be empowered to come to your aid you if you need it.

    I'm not a member yet but I've had them earmarked ever since I decided to pursue this gun thing, and I plan on it. Maybe I'll make it a priority to get that little checkmark on my to-do list this month.

    I should clarify: these are not lawyers. This is not an insurance plan. It's a Legal Defense Fund. Rather than explain them myself I'll just lift a paragraph from their site to let them explain it themselves. If you read something you like, go check them out. There's plenty more available to read there. I am in no way affiliated with them.

    Excerpt below is from this site: http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/learn
    The Network is such a new and unique organization that folks frequently mistake the Network for many things it is not when they hear about us through word of mouth! During our first year and a half of operation, we have been asked if the Network is an attorney referral service, a prepaid-legal scheme, or an insurance plan, to name only a few misconceptions. The Network is none of those things!

    The Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC is an organization of gun owners pooling their strength to protect one another when, after using a gun in self defense, a member comes under scrutiny of the legal system. Just as the earliest labor unions were mere groups of workers joined together to prevent abuse of individual workers, Network members have joined, not because they expect to get in a shooting, but because they are well aware of the abuses the legal system can enact against the innocent man or women forced to use a gun to defend self or family.

    Members recognize that while the individual may not carry much weight against the legal system, the strength of the organization, its experts and the fund amassed from 25% of all membership dues provides much more power with which to protect that individual member’s legal rights and legal survival.


    In addition to them, I have been becoming familiar with those few lawyers in my state that are vocal advocates of the carry community. I have purchased and am reading a book written by one such firearm-forward lawyer, and have made contact with and have the phone number of another. I am very new to all this, but I would recommend that for something as specialized as this particular subject, you probably want to have some knowledge of your potential defender prior to any incident, rather than going through an uncomfortable "how do you feel about firearms" dance with a lawyer who maybe doesnt support gun rights and most likely considers a legal success in your case to be avoiding actual trial time by making a deal, or worse who totally misunderstands how to represent you because representing a 'criminal offense' situation is completely different from representing a 'justifiable homicide'. I put those in quotes because I'm not sure of the official appropriate phraseology to use. Just that Self-Defense when justified is a situation where certain things absolutely should be said and done which your average, even your ultra-experienced criminal defense lawyer would not necessarily know to abide by.
    I am considering joining the Armed Citizens Defense Network since I no longer renew my NRA membership (a GOA member though). I can use that money to pay a yearly membership. However, I have a concern. How good are they for referring to a self-defense knowledgeable lawyer in my area? I would like to know so that I can get a chance to consult with one of those knowledgeable law firms and refer back to him/her if I go to jail in a self-defense situation. Now is the right time to find a self-defense lawyer than trying to find out once you are thrown in jail and allowed only 1 phone call. Again, never been in jail before but it's good to have a plan just in case.

  14. #13
    Distinguished Member Array tcox4freedom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olsen View Post
    Tcox:
    Hehe, you sounded like the guy who tried to sell me this thing.. I am still discussing it with myself.

    But I am not sure I can justify $27 a month or over 300 dollars a year for what I get in return. Sure, $300 is about a phone call to a lawyer but all I really see a benefit in is the 1 letter they give. Unlimited phone consultation am sure would be beneficial in some cases but only one letter OR phone call pr matter seems not enough to me. Does things really get solved with one letter? I would have to pay for the 2, 3, and 4..Sadly it is only trial hours that increases with the length of my maintained membership.

    While, as mentioned, I am sure they are nice to use for argue a ticket, or deal with a difficult or loud neighbor but when I would need a lawyer am not sure this would do it for me.

    However, Thanks for all input!
    The last thing I used them for was last year.

    My son had been bitten by a neighbors dog when he got off the bus. I talked to the police, AC and school district. All of this got me absolutely NOWHERE; because the bite wasn't that serious. (But, it did terrify my 10yr old son and my 8yo daughter.)

    All it took was one call to my PPL attorney; whom threatened to sue the neighbors and the school district. They all listened up then. The next day I received a phone call and apology. They assured me the stop would changed and the dog problem addressed. (That "alone", was worth this years premium.)

    PPL can be used so MUCH more that traffic ticket defense. They are the BEST lawyers available!

    AND

    Yes, I used to sell the service; because I believe 1000% in what the do to help people.

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