How Scary Are Attorneys Really? 5 Certified Legal Nurse Consultants Open Up

In this blog 5 Certified Legal Nurse Consultants open up about attorneys and whether they’re as scary to work with as you might think. They also recommend strategies for making attorneys less scary to you.


Are Attorneys Scary?

I don’t find attorneys scary at all. I think the perception is that attorneys are bulldogs in court and will therefore be the same with Certified Legal Nurse Consultants. That’s not been my experience; the attorneys I’ve connected with are very nice. I was certainly nervous before I called my first attorney-prospect. He put me totally at ease and expressed surprise to hear the scope of CLNC® services I could provide. He invited me to his office to talk to him and his partners. This was a pleasant surprise after dealing with physicians for years. Physicians don’t appear as appreciative as attorneys, often taking us and our experience for granted. The attorneys say, “Thank you. I could not do this without you. I would also like you to meet my associates so we can provide you with more cases.” I don’t recall a doctor ever saying anything like that.

Strategies for Making Attorneys Less Scary

  1. Keep reminding yourself that attorneys need Certified Legal Nurse Consultants. Attorneys may have legal expertise, but we have the medical knowledge they need to win cases.
  2. Approach attorney interviews as a conversation. This is about what you can provide to save time, money and also help win their cases. Your CLNC services will simplify their lives. You provide what they need to help them educate their clients, the judge and the jury.
  3. Remember yourself as a new RN and how you felt the first time you did a certain procedure (IV, NG tube, Foley, etc.) Most of us were scared, even petrified as we did new tasks. But as the procedures became more routine and we performed them with ease, the scary feelings went away. The more you interact with attorneys, the less scary they will seem.
  4. Most of all, have fun!


Are Attorneys Scary?

Attorneys don’t have to be scary, but they’re like any other group of people. Some are more challenging and scarier than others. Like RNs, most reputable attorneys are seriously interested in helping people. The more factual information they have, the better they can serve their clients. I find if I approach attorneys with information about my CLNC services and how I can assist them to have a better outcome for their clients, they listen and are a lot less scary.

Strategies for Making Attorneys Less Scary

  1. Don’t make empty promises. For example, do not commit to meet a deadline if you’re unable to do so. Beat the deadline when you can. I have consulted on more than 600 cases and have not missed one single deadline. Your professionalism reflects your CLNC business. I was recently told by an attorney that my CLNC business has a good reputation in the legal community. I have reviewed a case in one evening when the attorney needed it. I have reviewed a case in less than three days when an attorney called me on a Friday afternoon for a Monday deadline. I met the deadline and got more cases from that attorney.
  2. Be honest. Tell the “the good, the bad, and the ugly,” as Vickie teaches. I recently reviewed a case for a new attorney involving an unhappy patient. The doctor did everything appropriately, including everything the client said the doctor didn’t do. Additionally, damages and causation were not satisfied. I saved the attorney time and money by advising the attorney early that the case was not meritorious.
  3. Communicate regularly with the attorney. When I am asked to attend a defense medical exam (DME), I email the attorney to confirm the day before the scheduled DME. After the DME, I touch base with the attorney by phone or email on how the DME went before I start writing the report.


Are Attorneys Scary?

When I first started marketing to attorney-prospects I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that as an RN, we’re used to waking up physicians at night for orders, and more often than not, they’re not too happy to hear from us. So I thought, “How bad could it be to market to an attorney prospect? What do I have to lose?” The attorneys didn’t know me and probably would not remember me if I messed up. And yes, I did once forget my phone number and I did once say my name wrong. Over time, I improved and became more confident and attorneys started saying Yes.

Strategies for Making Attorneys Less Scary

  1. Do your research and know as much as you can about the attorney in advance. Know the type of law they practice. This is very important. You need to know if they are plaintiff or defense and what types of cases they litigate. This way you can be sure that you alter your script and unique selling position (USP) to meet their needs.
  2. Be confident in your presentation. Speak with conviction when you’re describing what you can do for the attorney. If you sound like you’re not sure how you can help them why should the attorney hire you?


Are Attorneys Scary?

I don’t think the first encounter with attorneys is any scarier than that first encounter you had with physicians on your first day as an RN. I think Certified Legal Nurse Consultants often internalize the fear of transitioning into something new by thinking attorneys are scary. In my experience as a CLNC consultant, it’s never been the attorney that is scary; it’s the fear of the initial meet and greet or the first interview. Attorneys need your help and they’re curious about what we can do for them as Certified Legal Nurse Consultants. I encourage new CLNC consultants to think back to your first couple of years as an RN. What’s scarier than having someone’s life in your hands? As Vickie says, if you can save lives, you can handle meeting attorneys.

A common misconception RNs have is that attorneys always think they’re right. I do not find this to be true. Smart attorneys want help from professionals like us. They want to build the best case for their client based on the facts of the case and professional opinions. Many attorneys simply want to be more educated on medical diagnoses and treatment and that’s why they ask a lot of questions.

Strategies for Making Attorneys Less Scary

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Whether it’s your first interview with an attorney or first time exhibiting at a legal conference, get prepared for what you are going to say and how you’re going to deliver your USP and marketing message.
  2. Get organized. I’m a strong believer in keeping things organized so your mind can focus on the conversation with the attorney. For example, go in with a folder which includes your promotional package and sample work product.
  3. Before your initial interview, practice the interview questions and answers provided in the CLNC Certification Program. Practice talking out loud. Watch yourself speak into the mirror. Practice with a friend or spouse.
  4. Get a good night’s sleep and eat before the meeting. If you’re hungry or sleepy, your mind won’t be at its fullest capacity.
  5. Be confident. Giving this advice always makes me laugh because I never felt confident when starting my CLNC business, however I knew I had to fake confidence to show my value. Attorneys want to see confident professionals. When I first started meeting attorneys my mantra was focus and confidence.
  6. Always remember attorneys are just people like you and me. They have good days. They have bad days. They make mistakes. Most importantly, they need Certified Legal Nurse Consultants.


Are Attorneys Scary?

Attorneys can seem intimidating and unapproachable, but as you gain experience consulting with them, that fear should lessen. I was intimidated when I first started marketing to attorneys. After I attained my first case and began conversing more with the attorney about the case, my confidence increased. I had immersed myself in the case and knew it inside and out. The attorney appreciated the in-depth perspective of my medical record review and the supporting literature provided to substantiate the case.

Strategies for Making Attorneys Less Scary

  1. Present professionally: clothing, posture, facial expressions, speech and overall presentation. Yes, first impressions count. About six months into my new role as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, I started working inside a law firm. I have learned that attorneys are very busy. They have looming deadlines to meet, and sometimes, the last thing they need is to be interrupted. That’s when working with office staff (paralegals, legal assistants and receptionists) can be valuable in connecting with the attorney. Office staff talk and they share their first impressions of you with the attorneys.
  2. Offer to assist with the attorney’s most difficult case and suggest ways you can make a difference. By providing excellent work product, you will foster positive professional attorney-client communications. A well-rounded and conscientious attorney will value the CLNC’s role and will make time to establish the professional CLNC relationship necessary to support their legal practice.

Thanks to Dale Barnes, RN, MSN, PHN, CLNC, Marcia Bell, RN, BSN, CAPA, CLNC, Dorene Goldstein, RNC, BSN, CLNC, Michelle Neal, RN, BSN, CLNC and Lori Sprenger, PHD, RN, CLNC for sharing their strategies for making attorneys less scary.

Success Is Yours,

P.S. Comment and share your strategies for making attorneys less scary.

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*The opinions and statements made by Vickie Milazzo, the founder of Medical-Legal Consulting Institute, Inc. are based on her experiences and expertise, should not be applied beyond the specific context provided, and do not guaranty or project actual results. Vickie Milazzo is no longer involved in the operations or management of the business, but is involved as an independent education consultant.

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