Legal nurse consulting collection issues plague many LNC businesses. Have you ever done work and not gotten paid by your attorney client? If so, you are part of a large group of LNC business owners who have gotten burned by an attorney.
How do legal nurse consulting collection issues occur?
The phone rings. It is an attorney who just walked out of a deposition. He hired one of your subcontracted expert witnesses to defend a nurse. During the deposition, plaintiff counsel asked tough questions about a case with some grey areas.
Your client asserts your expert was inexperienced with the deposition process. She volunteered her opinions about some deviations from the standard of care, which enraged your defense attorney client.
“I am not going to pay for her deposition fee! It was a waste of my time. I can’t use her now!” He rages on about her performance while you listen, gripping the phone with dismay.
You now have an untenable negotiation position. The attorney did not pay you for an invoice that was outstanding before the deposition. Now he will not pay for your expert’s time. While payment is not supposed to be contingent upon performance, you have no leverage to use to collect the unpaid invoice plus the fee for the deposition.
You tell the attorney you need to think this over and talk to the expert. Your expert tells you a different version of what occurred in the deposition room. She got backed into a corner by the opposing counsel and was forced to make concessions about deviations. When you explain how angry the attorney was, she admits she realized that as soon as the deposition was over.
You remind the attorney that payment is not contingent on performance. Realizing you have no leverage, you advise the attorney that you will not pursue payment of the invoices. In return, you request that he keep this experience confidential. You are concerned with the reputation of your business within the legal community and don’t want him to tarnish it. He agrees to these terms.
How to Avoid Legal Nurse Consulting Collection Issues
- Make sure your expert witness understands the importance of thorough preparation.
- Ask your expert to spend time with the client before the deposition anticipating the questions opposing counsel may ask. Part of this discussion is identifying the weak areas in the case and figuring out how to handle these questions.
- Insist that all unpaid invoices and a pre-deposition retainer be in your hands before the deposition begins. You have more leverage when the money is in your bank instead of the attorney’s.
It is vital to use whatever leverage you have when faced with a legal nurse consulting collection issue. Get concrete knowledge about negotiating successfully to collect your cash by investing in a webinar taught by Greg Williams the Master Negotiator. Order it at this link.
Pat Iyer consistently negotiated with attorneys when she ran her independent legal nurse consulting business. The situation in this blog post really occurred.
Pat is past president of the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC).