One Phone Call Mushroomed into My Full-Time CLNC® Business*
by Susan Porter, RNC, BS, CLNC
I have 33 years of nursing experience in several different fields. A few years ago my husband saw an advertisement for Vickie Milazzo Institute in one of the nursing magazines and said I’d be good at legal nurse consulting.
We had recently adopted a special needs infant and it was three years before I could feel comfortable being away from home. Then I enrolled in the CLNC® Certification Program and became a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.
Thanks to the CLNC® Certification Program, I knew exactly what to say so when the attorney asked what my fees were – I said ‘$150.00 an hour.’ She said, ‘That’s perfect.’
My husband, who’s always my motivating factor, started sending out promotional materials to attorneys. He said, “You need to start answering your phone with Susan Porter and Associates.”
Thanks to Vickie I Knew Exactly What to Say When the First Attorney Called
One week after my letters and brochures went out, I was taking my daughter to school when my phone rang. I answered “Susan Porter and Associates.” The voice on the other end said, “This is Mary Sue. I’m an attorney. I received your CLNC information packet and I have a home health case that I think you’d be perfect for.”
I had to pull over to the side of the road and take a deep breath – she was actually interviewing me on the phone. Thanks to the CLNC Certification Program, I knew exactly what to say so when the attorney asked what my fees were – I said, “$150 an hour.” She said, “That’s perfect.” We set up a meeting the following week, and in the meantime, she sent me the records to review.
When I went to her office, I learned that this was the largest defense firm in my hometown in South Carolina. The firm has five partners and 14 attorneys. I left with two more cases from their office, and another attorney from the firm soon called me on a new case.
After my first case, I cut back to one day every two weeks at the hospital. In just months my CLNC business mushroomed. A defense attorney who switched to plaintiff work asked me to continue reviewing his cases.
In one of the cases, the hospital involved was sold. A different law firm took over their case and asked me to send my final bill. I thought the case was dead for me, but the attorney who picked it up called from North Carolina and asked if he could meet with me. We met, and he asked me to continue reviewing the case, which settled two days before going to court. He also referred me to a colleague in North Carolina.
I just got another referral from an attorney in the original law firm whom I hadn’t even met.
I Paid for My VIP CLNC® Success System in Two Cases
My CLNC business was mushrooming and I was exhilarated. It only took my first two cases to pay for the VIP CLNC Success System.
I don’t know how anybody could be a legal nurse consultant without taking the CLNC® Certification Program. Without it I would not have known what to do or where to begin. I still review the Core Curriculum for Legal Nurse Consulting® textbook with every case.
The CLNC Mentors are invaluable. I had so many things to ask and I wanted to make sure I was on the right track. The CLNC Mentors are always there to help, and every question is handled professionally.
I also attended the NACLNC® 2-Day Apprenticeship, where I learned to apply the principles in the CLNC Certification Program and the Core Curriculum. The Apprenticeship gave me the skills to think on my feet with attorneys. Role playing was especially helpful. I was able to see a case in action and experience what it would be like before I went home and tried it myself.
Staying Visible to the Attorneys Keeps Me Successful
From the time I received that first phone call, I made a point of being visible to the attorneys, like Vickie taught us. Even when they gave me the job over the phone I still went in, introduced myself and made face-to-face contact. I’ve met all the attorneys I’ve worked with and know their assistants by name. When I offered to send my CV to the attorney on my latest case, he said, “That’s okay. If you’re good enough for Mary Sue, that’s all I need.” But I’ll still go by and introduce myself so he’ll know who he’s working with.
Consistent marketing means better visibility. Because I market myself consistently, I know exactly what’s in the presentation packet I send to each attorney. Even when I talk to an attorney on the phone, I can visualize what’s in front of him and I can discuss my CLNC services effectively.
I also stay visible by following up after I start my review. I call to let the attorney know what I’ve accomplished. That way, if there’s some time between contacts, she knows I’m still out there working on the case.
The CLNC Certification Program taught me that staying visible often presents unexpected marketing opportunities. So, as Vickie teaches us, I took some time out of my schedule to go to the courthouse to watch a malpractice case one of my defense attorney-clients was trying. During the lunch break the plaintiff attorney approached me and asked why I was there. I explained what I did, and he said, “I could have used your services on this case,” which he eventually lost. I gave him my card and offered to help on his next case. Every situation is an opportunity to market and courthouses are where the attorneys are.
As a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant I Set My Own Hours and Work at My Own Pace
My favorite part of being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant is reviewing the chart and determining if the standards of care have been adhered to. The Institute’s training and my years of experience as a nurse give me the confidence to know I’m doing the job right. Working as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant is fascinating and exciting. I also feel like I’m making a difference by determining whether the case has merit and by educating the attorney about the medical issues of the case so he can present it to the jury in a way they can understand.
I like the independence of setting my own hours and working at my own pace. Often I’m working after my children go to sleep at night and after I take them to school during the day. This flexibility allows me to accomplish everything I need to do.
Vickie’s teaching style is very entertaining and motivating, yet easy to understand. Vickie presents the CLNC Certification Seminar in a way that you never lose interest. When you have completed the program, you’re ready to get started. She makes you believe you can do it because you’re a nurse. And she’s right when she says, “We are nurses and we can do anything!®”
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