When you have a legal nurse consultant job to do, it pays to communicate directly with the decision-maker, i.e., the lead attorney. At any moment in time, you need to know what the attorney is thinking about the case and where he plans to go with it.
While a third party assistant or paralegal might mean well, they often filter out the relevant meaning of your communications which can negatively impact the attorney’s comprehension of your professional opinions. The end result – deterioration in the relationship with your attorney-client.
Use these four best practices to communicate directly with the lead attorney on legal nurse consultant jobs:
- Obtain the attorney’s direct contact information. When you go through the general office, the gatekeeper is obligated to pass you to someone other than the attorney to protect from unnecessary interruptions. Direct access to the attorney helps you avoid the gatekeeper altogether.
Jane Hurst, RN, CLNC and Susan Schaab, RN, BSN, CLNC, describe the ideal process. Jane says, “When working on a legal nurse consultant job, I always communicate directly with the lead attorney on the case. I have their direct phone numbers (office and cell). I also use email to communicate directly with them. I do not discuss a case with anyone other than the attorney I’m consulting with.” Susan shares, “I get the direct phone numbers and email addresses of each attorney-client which allows me to contact him without having to go through the paralegal or an assistant. Implementing this best practice means there is no middle person who can interfere with my attorney-client relationship or create a misunderstanding on the case. My interaction with paralegals is kept to a minimum and usually deals with obtaining medical records and scheduling conferences with the attorney.”
Dorene Goldstein, RN, BSN, CLNC, shares how she creatively handled a paralegal who was blocking her calls. “I knew my attorney-client wanted to communicate directly with me, but the paralegal continued to get in the way. On two separate occasions, I tried to speak to the attorney directly but was sent to the paralegal and each time got weeded out. The next time I called before the paralegal was in the office and was able to speak with the attorney directly. I explained the situation to him and he gave me the number to his direct line for future use.”
Always obtain the attorney’s email address, office and cell phone numbers and use them to bypass the gatekeeper and to communicate directly with the lead attorney.
- Solicit the help of the assistants. If you do not have access to the attorney’s contact information, solicit the help of the assistants. Dorene Goldstein, RN, BSN, CLNC, states, “Enlisting their help makes them feel like they are a part of the team and I am not leaving them out or going over their head.” Befriending the gatekeeper, paralegals and assistants is a smart best practice.
- Copy the attorney on all correspondence. If the attorney requests that you communicate to a paralegal or assistant regarding your legal nurse consultant jobs, copy the attorney on all emails and send a summary of all phone conversations to the attorney. This prevents the assistant from misrepresenting your communications to the attorney and reminds the attorney of the important role you play as the Certified Legal Nurse Consultant on the case.
Susan Schaab, RN, BSN, CLNC, says, “Paralegals are valued members of their law firms and I have great respect for them. I find, however, that if your primary contact is a paralegal, then it is not long before the attorney starts to see you at the same level as that paralegal. I am a key member of the litigation team and an expert in nursing, so I deserve the time and attention of the attorney.”
- Include the assistant in the case. Invite the paralegal or assistant to sit in on the opinions you’re communicating regarding legal nurse consultant jobs. Dorene Goldstein, RN, BSN, CLNC, states “I invite the paralegal to be included in our communications whether it is verbal or written. This helps them feel like they are just as important as the attorney and, most of the time, they are.”
Implement these four best practices from the CLNC Pros to communicate directly with the lead attorney on your legal nurse consultant jobs.
Success Is Yours!
P.S. Comment and share what you do to communicate directly with the lead attorney-client.