Your attorney client asked you to prepare a report to explain your opinions about a case. You could be screening a case for merit, writing an expert witness report, or offering consulting (behind the scenes) consulting services for a variety of cases. Follow these tips to write a persuasive legal nurse consultant report.
1. Everything in your legal nurse consultant report flows from knowing what points you want to make.
Create a little outline before writing your report. This will help you crystallize your opinions.
2. Create transitions between paragraphs so that the points flow.
If you cannot create the transitions, you may not understand how the points relate to each other. The reader of your report won’t understand this either. Transitions flow from an outline. Begin the report by stating your main points. Then address each in order. Transition sentences carry the reader from the end of the previous point to the beginning of the next one.
3. Make sure you have mastered the facts.
Medical records, reports and transcripts are filled with facts, which requires you to be detail oriented. You will weaken your persuasive report by misstating facts.
4. Use facts to explain your legal nurse consultant opinion.
Avoid words or phrases that simply allow you to ventilate: “complete disregard for”, “whatsoever”, “utterly”, and “in any way”.
5. Your indignation does not confirm that your opinions are valid.
You may believe the other side’s position is illogical and yours is common sense. Remember what Voltaire said: “Common sense is not so common.” Voltaire, Dictionnaire Philosophique (1764). You won’t win your points by name calling, or labelling.
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6. Lead with your strongest points.
Look at the strengths of your arguments. If you find yourself presenting weaker arguments, go back to your strongest points and maximize them. Weaker arguments allow people who read your report to pick at your opinions. An expert witness report with weak arguments gives the opposing counsel the opportunity to attack your opinions.
7. Anticipate what the opposing side will argue.
Don’t hide from those points. Proactively address them. You don’t have to write, “I expect the opposing expert witness will argue that…” Instead, bring up the points and explain why your opinion is more valid.
8. Ask yourself if the reader will have preconceptions that you need to dispel.
For example, an attorney told me that patients with Alzheimer’s do not suffer because they cannot feel pain. He had a different opinion after I explained the physiology of pain and how Alzheimer’s interferes with the interpretation of the pain.
9. Don’t assume your reader understands the medical facts behind your legal nurse consultant arguments.
Legal nurse consultants are at risk for assuming the attorney reader has the background to see why an argument is persuasive. The curse of knowledge is the difficulty in imagining what it is like for someone else not to know something that you know. You cannot offend your reader by being too clear.
10. Continuously put yourself in the position of the reader.
Ask yourself, “If I were reading this report, what would I be thinking?”
11. Wordy reports may be your attempt to offer quantity when you lack quality of your opinions.
Prune your report by looking for repetition and long sentences. Then proofread it for typos and facts. Be particularly attentive to dates and names. I proofed an expert report that contained 3 different spellings of a physician’s name. That is just plain sloppy.
12. Allow yourself time to prepare your legal nurse consultant report.
You need time to identify the persuasive points for your opinions. Haste can result in a disorganized report. Avoid brinkmanship.
Follow these tips to prepare more persuasive legal nurse consultant reports – please your clients and you will get more business.
Pat Iyer MSN RN LNCC is president of the Pat Iyer Group. Pat is the past president of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC).
She has written or proofread thousands of reports. Join Pat for a free webinar Get More Clients with Your Top Notch Writing Skills. Polish your legal nurse consultant reports here. Get details here.