This past weekend (7/12/14) I attended a four-hour seminar on the Law of Self Defense, presented by Attorney Andrew Branca. I had already gotten his book (actually my good friend Craig Harper gave it to me). I liked the book, because it was a pretty exhaustive compilation of data and yet still a relatively easy/quick read (even for someone with attention deficit issues like me). So when I saw that Mr. Branca was coming to speak here in town, I signed up. By and large, the seminar was great!
I was very impressed that even though Branca does versions of his seminar all over the country several times a month, he still takes the time to tailor the material to his audience’s jurisdiction. As a legal researcher, I have some inkling of how time-consuming that could potentially become. In our case, we had one student from Arkansas and 18 or so from Tennessee. Even though the seminar took place in Tennessee, Branca added information on Arkansas law just to accommodate that one student. And that’s not all! Those who are familiar with Memphis know that it sits adjacent not only to Arkansas but also to Mississippi. So a few of the Memphis residents begged Mr. Branca to add Mississippi law to the mix as well, and he was kind enough to do so (even despite the last-minute request). Since he did add material from a third state at our request, I suppose I can’t complaint that the seminar ended up running almost forty minutes over the scheduled end-time. 🙂
The material was very well-organized. It was very specific on the law, but without getting bogged down in unwieldy legalese. We had three or four lawyers in the bunch (including me), and I suspect the material was equally useful and understandable for the lawyers and the non-lawyers alike. The PowerPoint slides were text-heavy and difficult to read, but he is sending all the students a copy of the entire presentation (which was almost 300 slides) so we can look back in more depth at our own pace. Rather than reading the slides, I just focused on what Branca was saying. He did a good job of explaining the content so that it was digestible despite the breadth and depth of coverage. He was also very good at making points by example. He had a perfect anecdote or hypothetical scenario to illustrate every legal rule, caveat, distinction, exception, and technicality.
As both a student and a teacher of personal defense, I found the seminar to be very worthwhile. I’d recommend it to any CCW holder, no matter how well-informed you think you might be about the law of self-defense. Kudos to Andrew Branca, and thanks again for the great class!