You’ve successfully completed the CLNC® Certification Program. You’ve done everything right, such as taking action every day to get your first attorney-client as a new Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. Your efforts have paid off and you’ve got your first case. Now what?
First, you’ll probably do the victory dance. Next comes the panic – “What did I get myself into?”
I guarantee you will recover from the panic when you get moving on the case. All you have to do is take action with these top 10 strategic measures and you’ll make your first case a success.
- Determine your CLNC role up front. Will you be the consulting expert or the testifying expert? Because of discoverability rules you must know your role before you begin work on the case. You don’t want that exemplary report you wrote to get scooped up by the opposing attorney because you thought you were the consulting expert while all along, the attorney knew you were the perfect expert witness.
- Establish the attorney’s level of expertise in handling this type of case. This will help you define the level of legal nurse work product the attorney needs. Attorneys come in different shapes and sizes and their learning needs are quite varied.
- Identify the key issues from the attorney’s perspective and be prepared to educate the attorney about additional issues you discover. If the attorney wants you to focus on three issues, focusing on ten is not necessarily better. Likewise, if an issue is significant you will want to point it out to your attorney-client.
- Ask the attorney for any case themes, positions or strategies that have been developed to stay in alignment with him. You might need to professionally guide the attorney in the right direction to a stronger theme and position when necessary.
- Collaborate with the attorney regarding the specific services you will provide as the legal nurse consultant. For medical malpractice cases emphasize that you will address adherences to and deviations from the standard of care as they apply to the case as well as causation issues.
- Advise the attorney of the variety of ways you can help as the Certified Legal Nurse Consultant on the litigation team. But remember, attorney approval and strong communication are essential any time you recommend an additional CLNC service you believe will benefit the case.
- Clarify whether the attorney wants a verbal opinion or written report and, if written, brief, moderate or comprehensive.
- Agree on a working budget. It will be influenced by the depth and breadth of the case, the attorney’s learning needs and personal preferences as well as the attorney’s comfort level with you as the legal nurse consultant.
- Make sure you have collected a retainer and a signed contract or letter agreement before you start working on the case.
- Determine deadlines and then meet or beat them.
Employ these 10 strategic measures on your first case (or your 100th) as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant to confidently and effectively deliver your opinions and reports.
I’m Just Sayin’
P.S. Comment and share any additional measures you think a new CLNC consultant should take when they receive their first case.