One of the most important principles I have learned from consulting with attorneys is to anticipate the opposing side’s arguments and positions. I also learned this analysis strategy in law school. On final exams, my grades depended upon my ability to argue both sides of every case even when I didn’t like my own arguments.
Successful Certified Legal Nurse Consultants incorporate this same type of critical thinking into their case analyses and business decisions. When I mentor beginning Certified Legal Nurse Consultants, I often caution them to avoid believing their opinions in a case are bulletproof, meaning they discount any counterarguments. When a legal nurse consultant loses objectivity, her ability to analyze the case is flawed and weakened. No position is bulletproof, as the unfortunate Casey Anthony case proved. There is nothing wrong with having strong opinions, but the danger in the bulletproof mentality is that it doesn’t respond well to the inevitable volley of silver bullets.
How does a CLNC® consultant avoid the bulletproof mentality? Easy; never think that your position is unassailable and always look at the other side’s possible arguments, no matter how ridiculous they might seem on the surface.
Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, Dale Barnes shared her experience of the bulletproof mentality and how she handled the consequences with her attorney-client:
“Early in my career as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, I researched a case and concluded it was meritorious. Well into the case, what I thought was impossible occurred. The plaintiff started to improve, and the damages started to disappear before our eyes. The case was not as tragic and not quite as slam-dunk as I had led my attorney-client and myself to believe.
Once I overcame my embarrassment, I immediately confronted the issue and was honest with my attorney-client. He was obviously not happy. Based on my opinion, he had invested a lot of his own money into the case. I told him that I had not foreseen a recovery and that I would assist him in developing a new strategy. We altered our strategy for damages by focusing strictly on the losses during the shorter time the plaintiff had been affected. The strategy worked and the case was resolved.
My attorney-client shared that because I was honest with him about what I should have done differently and because I tried to help him resolve the dilemma, he was able to trust me, and to this day we still work together.”
Dale Barnes, RN, MSN, CLNC
Next time you’re working on a case for your attorney-clients and you get that “eureka” moment where you feel you’ve reached an unassailable position, stop and think again. You owe it to yourself and to your attorney-clients to not only keep your objectivity, but to also put it to good use by looking for the other side’s silver bullet. Successful Certified Legal Nurse Consultants know that it’s when you feel most bulletproof that you’re really not.
Success Is Inside!
P.S. Comment and share your own bulletproof experiences and how they backfired on you.