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Thread: Get a GOOD lawyer NOW

  1. #1
    Accomplished Advocate user's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Northern Piedmont of Virginia

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    Yesterday evening, I did one of my Virginia Firearms Law and Lethal Force seminars.

    One of the things I point out in the course of my "lecture" is that anyone can be charged with a crime or sued civilly, at any time, pretty much by anyone; and that this has nothing to do with whether or not the adversary might or might not win at trial.

    So I usually say something like, "if you were in a car accident and needed emergency surgery, you go to the nearest hospital and get whatever surgeon happens to be there at the time. And surgeons, like lawyers, plumbers, and every other profession, vary a lot. Some are really good, some are really bad, and most are average. Wouldn't it be nice to have selected your surgeon in advance and made sure you got one of the 'good' ones?" Then I point out that with attorneys, you have that opportunity. And the time to choose a lawyer is not when you're sitting in a jail cell and unable to communicate with other people, look stuff up on the InterNet, or even consult the "yellow pages". The time to pick your lawyer is NOW!!!

    Well, after the lecture, I was approached by a young man who'd been listening, and he asked me if I knew anyone in his area (he'd driven a pretty good distance to attend the seminar). I said that I didn't but gave him some advice on how to choose a good attorney. On reflection, I thought it was pretty good advice, so I'm going to tell y'all, as well:

    First, talk to friends and relatives, and get referrals from them. Make sure you tell them you're looking for a "good" lawyer in case of a legal emergency, and you're not looking for an "average" or "ok" lawyer. You should ask them for their gut feelings about the lawyers they know; often people have a pretty good sense about such things. Then call those lawyers. They'll be divorce lawyers, people who do personal injury work, zoning law, or whatever. It doesn't matter. Because you want to tell those guys that you regularly carry a gun, and you're looking for the best trial lawyer you can get who does criminal and civil defense. Use the word, "litigator", if you like. So ask those attorneys for their recommendation; if they were charged with a serious crime, who would they hire to represent themselves. After a while the same two or three names will keep popping up. That's your "short list".

    Then consult those attorneys on your "short list" and explain why you want to talk to them, and ask if they'll chat with you for free in their office for twenty minutes or so. If not, they're too busy to be able to represent you effectively, and you can cross them off your list. When you chat, tell them you carry a gun and that you are looking to find a good lawyer who can represent them in the event that you are either charged with a crime or sued civilly in connection with your possession or use of a firearm. If they're NRA members, that's a good thing. Being on a local "gun friendly lawyers" list is a good thing. Having a concealed carry permit themselves is a good thing. A lot of lawyers will work for whomever, but have their own agendas which color their ability to effectively represent a client. If you're not white, yourself, you may not want a lawyer who's a member of the KKK, for example. Similarly, you don't want a lawyer who contributes money to the local anti-gun political candidates and organizations.

    The best defense attorneys are usually NOT ex-prosecutors - "being a system guy" means you'll get a "system defense", which is a euphemism for "screwed". The best attorneys generally don't have walnut panelling in their offices and lots of buxom secretaries. The best defense attorneys generally have a reputation among other lawyers for being experts in procedure and evidence, and who know how to preserve points for appeals they don't expect to need to prosecute; they know how to "build the record" and structure the evidence so a jury will not only understand it but believe it.

    But here's the kicker: find out who the sheriff's deputies are in your local trial court of record (the "Supreme Court" in New York State, usually a "Circuit Court" in other states), and talk to those guys. They see lawyers in action in front of juries all the time and they really, really know who the good ones are and who the bad ones are. Of course, some deputies, being law enforcement guys, don't want to tell you the truth, because they don't want to help you "get off" on a criminal charge. Be careful about that. But if your brother-in-law's cousin is such a person, get the bro' to introduce you. If you have a friend whose daughter works in the clerk's office, ask that daughter to tell you whom you should speak with. The courtroom security bailiffs are probably the most expert lawyer-pickers of anyone.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    across Death's Door on Washington Island, Wisconsin, USA

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    Thank you for the valuable advice despite its apparent cost.

    We have two lawyer full time Islanders. My personal representative has been admitted to practice before SCOTUS and he is discreetly interested in guns among many other things.

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