Kevin Michalowski and criminal defense attorney Tom Grieve discuss the qualities gun owners should be looking for in their self-defense lawyers. After firing your gun in self-defense, you won’t be calling your tax or real estate attorney. You want to find a legal expert who knows his or her way around concealed carry.

Steps to Find a Good Attorney

Many attorneys’ personal websites are going to make them look like the greatest thing since sliced bread. These pages often only feature 5-star reviews. But every lawyer on the internet can’t be the best. To break through that noise, first look for someone who handles concealed carry, self-defense and gun laws almost exclusively. Handling self-defense incidents shouldn’t be something they do; it should be the only thing.

*Find a lawyer who knows firearms and gun laws through the USCCA Attorney Network.

The availability of self-defense attorneys accessible to you can vary by region and market, however. In a rural area, it may be harder to find a lawyer who strictly covers concealed carriers. There are a lot of regulations around lawyers claiming to “specialize,” but look for one who focuses on firearms.

Reach Out to a Self-Defense Lawyer Before You Need One

When you find an attorney who appears to fit the bill, you’ll next want to have a conversation. Make sure the lawyer you’re talking with can answer your questions. If he or she is deflecting your questions under a low-pressure phone call or meet and greet, that won’t play out well with a judge, jury or prosecutor. Lawyers who can’t answer your questions without a lot of “er, um, uh or I don’t know” shouldn’t be who you’re going to call after a high-stress situation.

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It’s also a good idea to have a relationship with your attorney beforehand. Pay for an hour of their time if necessary to have a phone call or sit-down. You can simply say you’re a gun owner and you’re wondering what he or she recommends should you have to use your gun in self-defense. However, Tom recommends finding an attorney who is a little busy. If he or she has all the time in the world to talk to you, that probably means he or she doesn’t have many clients … likely for a reason.

Keep in mind also that a good attorney needs clients, but not every client. Lawyers will likely be screening you just as much as you are screening them. Be respectful of their time and priorities. Casual questions won’t often be at the top of their list.

It can be a good idea to keep track of your firearms training and certifications as well. It’s not unreasonable to have a curriculum vitae of your firearms knowledge. This will show attorneys that you’re serious, well-organized and a good client. It’s also easier for lawyers to defend a gun owner who appears to want to do the right thing.