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2nd Amend. Litigation Updates & Legal Discussion Discuss California 2A related litigation and legal topics here. All advice given is NOT legal counsel.

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  #1  
Old 01-05-2019, 3:06 PM
Starlord Starlord is offline
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Default How do you get started in firearms law?

I am a longtime Calguns member that just passed the CA Bar exam. Just waiting on moral character application to clear to get licensed.

I wrote a paper in law school on 3d printed guns, and I have had a lifetime interest in firearms law. I am wanting to get into firearms law, but don't know where to start. Anyway, does anyone have any suggestions? Possible job leads? Just want to make a difference. Thanks

Last edited by Starlord; 01-06-2019 at 5:23 PM..
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Old 01-05-2019, 3:11 PM
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I (am not a lawyer) work as a compliance manager at a gun shop. It is honestly feels like a lawyers position a lot of the time. You have to make calls that really should have the consult of a lawyer a lot of the time.
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Old 01-05-2019, 3:21 PM
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https://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/...s#post22510409

Talk with someone fron Michel and associates
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Old 01-05-2019, 7:06 PM
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They don't teach a "Google Fu" class in law school? I suppose clerks do all the real research these days.

Try Googling "Gun Law Attorney California"...
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Old 01-05-2019, 7:31 PM
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IANAL, but my wife did manage the Law Review for one of the major L.A. law schools for more than 25 years. We've followed the careers of a lot of her students and have been able to make a lot of observations:

1) A good lawyer never stops learning. The passing of the bar exam and gets you to the bottom rung of the professional ladder. You need to keep climbing. Once lawyers stop the learning thing and focus only on their practice, they seem to disappear. Learning has both a "vertical" and a "horizontal" axis. You can become more of an expert in your field, or you can master more fields.

2) Clerking experience is invaluable. It's not glamorous or well paying, but it gives you an outstanding insight into "how the sausage is made." There are a lot of attorneys that may have excellent knowledge of the law, but can't apply that law to write a concise and convincing brief, nor can argue a complex case within the 10 minutes generally allowed for appellate argument. Clerks get of good understanding of the critical path, what works, and what doesn't.

3) When you start to practice on your own, surround yourself with experts. I'll second the previous recommendation to reach out to Michel and Associates. You'll learn a lot more if you sit in the second and third chairs in major case trials than if you try going it alone and working up the ladder from the first seat.

4) Stay humble. You'll learn more, and folks will be more willing to help you. I could easily spot the wife's arrogant students. They pretty much failed as a group to make partner in their firms. It's not how big your brain is that counts, its how big of a following you can create, and how much trust you can earn with your clients.
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Old 01-05-2019, 7:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlord View Post
I am a longtime Calguns member that just passed the CA Bar exam. Just waiting on moral character application to clear to get licensed.

I wrote a paper in law school on 3d printed guns, and I have had a lifetime interest in firearms law. I wanting to get into firearms law but don't know where to start. Anyway, does anyone have any suggestions? Possible job leads? Just want to make a difference. Thanks
It's a tough area to break into because its hyper-specific, but also you're being vague. Do you want to defend people accused of firearms violations? Be aware, most are largely scumbags--not John Q. Public who forgot to put a fingrip on his grandpa's AR. That's probably the easiest way to get real, substantive firearms experience. Or do you want to do regulatory compliance--help FFLs (manufacturers and gun stores) deal with the web of regulatory issues? That'll be difficult, because most have a long-standing relationship with one of the existing firearms firms or lawyers. Or do you want to do constitutional law? Usually, that's done by a few elite NRA lawyers at Kirkland Ellis in DC with fancy Yale and Harvard degrees, but Alan Wolf (who was a solo practitioner working pro bono) has obtained what seems like the biggest victory on guns in the 9th circuit in many years if it holds.

The only true firearms firm in California is Michel and Associates, who represent the NRA/CRPA, and they are not firearms-only. They do tons of other litigation that is unrelated to firearms. Jason Davis, Don Kilmer, Adam Richards specialize in firearms law and are very good at what they do from all accounts, but they're basically solo practitioners. Gatzke Dillon & Ballance in San Diego do some firearms law as well, although they do lots of other stuff too.

If you can't get a job with one of those, and you probably won't unless you're really exceptional, I would suggest going into criminal law, developing a strong understanding of all aspects of criminal procedure and litigation, and once you've done that, you'll have more options.
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Old 01-05-2019, 8:09 PM
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If you mean you want to be a 2A constitutional lawyer, I'm not sure you will have an easy time of it. There are VERY few dedicated constitutional 2A lawyers. Why? Because there is very little actual constitutional 2A work. Most of the "2A" lawyers I know (like Chuck Michael) work directly for the NRA or other gun organization. (but still do many other types of law to pay the bills) The NRA is hemorrhaging money, and I don't see lots of other 2A groups rising to fill their shoes.

Now, having said that, in connection with my work as a criminal defense atty and work here on Cal.Guns, I represent clients who get into trouble with their guns, advise people on how to configure their guns to avoid violating the law, and help people get their firearms rights back after a 5150, DV, battery conviction or any number of other charges which affect one's firearms rights and even do firearms trusts. MUCH of that is done pro bono or at very nominal costs however.

So... getting a good education and background in California criminal law and practice would be a good way to start. And, as stated above, you can engage in lots of work that RELATES to guns or gun rights, but may not be exactly pure constitutional law.
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Old 01-15-2019, 1:43 PM
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Basically reiterating what a few folks here already had to say.

1. What do you mean by firearms law. There are a lot of different avenues.
a. Criminal defense of those accused of violating firearms laws
i. This is really just a subset of criminal law, so become a criminal
lawyer and try to represent people accused of such crimes.
b. Second Amendment constitutional work, attempting to challenge laws
that impinge on what people believe to be their 2A rights.
i. Again this is really just a subset of both or either criminal law
and/or appellate practice. Either become a criminal lawyer or
an appellate lawyer and attempt to get as many 2A cases as
possible
c. regulatory work. Working for a major firearms manufacturer or similar company and helping them comply with 2A specific regulations. Really just a corporate attorney or regulatory attorney specializing in one small part of the law.

3. There are probably other possibilities I didn't address. However there is so little scope for this that nobody could really make a living as only a 2A lawyer. As noted above Michel is the closest thing we have in California and they probably do more general criminal work that anything else.
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Old 01-17-2019, 2:50 PM
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As stated very well above, there are many areas which may implicate firearms law. Two of the more common will be in a criminal law setting, and estate asset management (transferring guns upon death of the owner).

You’ll probably get more clients in an area where clients “need” to do something or risk losing a lot, i.e. criminal defense.

I handle firearms related law in CA but most of my practice is in other areas. The whole of my legal knowledge and experience however is highly relevant.

Congrats on passing the bar and good luck!
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Old 01-23-2019, 7:16 AM
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As primer on CA firearms law, the book by C.D. Michel, California Gun Laws, is very good. I have a copy on my shelf and refer to it frequently. It is available from CRPA. As a new lawyer you may want to look at getting litigation experience and job with the DA or PD in a medium small county will get you both depth and breadth. You may also see some firearm issues.
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Old 01-23-2019, 7:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeepergeo View Post
They don't teach a "Google Fu" class in law school? I suppose clerks do all the real research these days.

Try Googling "Gun Law Attorney California"...
Hes not asking for a google search, hes asking a very specific question about how to posotion himself in an area of practice.
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Old 02-04-2019, 5:59 PM
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It would help if people knew where you live... (not the address, but the part of the state....)

Honestly, First priority: get a job doing anything that pays well.

Get some experience in anything.

Keep you mouth shut in front of the judges about your aspirations concerning gun rights. Some of them will hate you for it, and destroy your life. The ones that agree with the 2A keep their mouths shut about it.

If you want to represent people who are accused of crimes, then I would strongly recommend working for the PD for a while. You will get a lot of cases and a lot of training. If you can work you way up to level 5 (murder defense), then stay as long as you can. There is good regular money at the top certification levels.

If you want to go the civil route, I rarely hear of gun cases in civil court. You will probably get on the plaintiff's side, because it is really difficult to get into the big insurance defense firms. But if you can get into insurance defense, then run with it.

The family court is an interesting place where people lose their gun rights by the 10s of thousands every year. Maybe you are a gladiator, and are willing to try the family court.

If you are crazy enough to try to go on your own (or desperate) then good luck keeping you head above water. I love the practice of law. But, I hate the business of law.
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Old 02-11-2019, 4:33 PM
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If you want to go on your own you might start writing legal articles for gun publications, both print and online, as a way to start making a name. The bio after the article will explain your law practice areas.
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Old 02-12-2019, 3:20 PM
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Not looking to get flamed, but you can consider trying to get a DOJ job for a few years and represent the State. After a few years of seeing how sausage is made you'll be very marketable to a 2nd Amdt firm or on your own if you still feel the same as you do now. Most of the very good criminal defense lawyers I know started on the prosecution side of the podium.
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Old 02-12-2019, 6:16 PM
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All3 makes a lot of sense. It is a lot easier to understand the other side if you spend some time being the other side.
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Old 02-13-2019, 9:55 AM
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Are you in the Long Beach area? Send me a resume and writing sample if so.
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  #17  
Old 02-13-2019, 10:38 AM
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Chuck Michelle just wrote a new book on ca firearm laws

There is an older book - a California peace officers guide to California’s dangerous weapons laws

How to own a gun and stay out of jail.


Read and I would watch the MD cop who was in charge of Firearm Licenses. He was schooled by the local gun groups.


My suggestion is to start a while back. Look at gun control starting in the 1930s

Fast forward to the 1968 stuff copied from the nazis

86 volmer (sp) amendment
1989 Roberti roos
1994 - Clinton federal AWB

Read up on the old stuff written before and after the constitution was written.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:41 AM
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You need to understand the federal side and then state specific

https://www.amazon.com/Federal-Firea...tIL&ref=plSrch
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:42 AM
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https://www.amazon.com/Peace-Officer...XSL&ref=plSrch
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Old 02-23-2019, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlord View Post
I am a longtime Calguns member that just passed the CA Bar exam. Just waiting on moral character application to clear to get licensed.

I wrote a paper in law school on 3d printed guns, and I have had a lifetime interest in firearms law. I am wanting to get into firearms law, but don't know where to start. Anyway, does anyone have any suggestions? Possible job leads? Just want to make a difference. Thanks
I was also interested in firearms law/2nd Amendment issues when I entered law school.

But by the time I graduated I decided that practicing law was not for me.

Be that as it may of course I wish you good luck.

Have you considered applying for employment at a firm that manufactures firearms?

Or at a firm that distributes large quantities of firearms?

Just some off-the-cuff suggestions.
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Old 02-23-2019, 5:19 PM
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Are you in the Long Beach area? Send me a resume and writing sample if so.
That is a gracious offer.
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Old 02-23-2019, 7:07 PM
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Get an engineering degree.
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Old 03-13-2019, 8:37 AM
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The absolute best advice I can give lawyers is to prepare for a massive demand shift, and it won't be good for lawyers.

How many thousands of lawyers are unemployed/underemployed in CA?

AI is more accurate that lawyers.

Ya gotta be able to read between the lines:

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/a...gal_profession

The devil does make work for idle hands....
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Old 03-13-2019, 8:37 AM
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Get an engineering degree.
^^^sage advice^^^
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Old 03-13-2019, 8:41 AM
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I know a lotta lawyers. None like lawyering. Most don't trust lawyers.

A newly inducted member into the order of chicanery has said that the best thing about being a lawyer is saying you're a lawyer, and she ain't been hustlin' in the racket for a year.

It's a much different generation. Soft sciences (law is a social science) are out. If it ain't hard science, engineering, or math, go to a trade school.

There are lawyers on this forum who haven't a clue of their line of work.
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Old 03-13-2019, 2:39 PM
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Start filing lawsuits in federal court under 42 usc 1983 for indigent clients that can not afford lawyers and hope to be awarded attorney fees at the end for winning. I'd tell you to find paying clients but they are already taken by the experienced lawyers.

The benefit of being new and representing indigent clients is that the judges are more likely to go easy on you.

Volunteer for the county bar association's civil rights program. The court will weed the loser cases for you and appoint you to cases that it thinks has merit.

After a few year you will have mastered the skills necessary to practice civil rights law.
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Old 03-14-2019, 6:33 AM
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Start filing lawsuits in federal court under 42 usc 1983 for indigent clients that can not afford lawyers and hope to be awarded attorney fees at the end for winning. I'd tell you to find paying clients but they are already taken by the experienced lawyers.
You're 100% right. Lawyers have transformed law from a profession to a game. And lawyers have to become proficient gamers in an arena in which justice is not the objective.

BTW, cannot is a compound verb.
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Old 03-18-2019, 8:57 AM
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RussG1
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Old 03-18-2019, 1:11 PM
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To the OP, I offer my congratulations to passing one of the most difficult bars to pass in the U.S.
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Old 03-29-2019, 7:12 AM
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To the OP, I offer my congratulations to passing one of the most difficult bars to pass in the U.S.

It used to be the most difficult bar exam to pass. It was modified about a year ago. Now a caveman could pass it.
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Old 03-29-2019, 8:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EMP3 View Post
The absolute best advice I can give lawyers is to prepare for a massive demand shift, and it won't be good for lawyers.

How many thousands of lawyers are unemployed/underemployed in CA?

AI is more accurate that lawyers.

Ya gotta be able to read between the lines:

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/a...gal_profession

The devil does make work for idle hands....
Highly unlikely that ai will replace trial lawyers. For contracts, trusts, generation of documents, sure.

When someone seeks to enforce that document? Nope.

Most lawyers are not trial lawyers, though.
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