Here’s the advice of Mindy Cohen MSN RN LNCC about starting a legal nurse consulting business.
Groundwork for Starting a Legal Nurse Consulting Business
1. Get connected with AALNC. Order and read the Scope and Standards of Legal Nurse Consulting Practice. It will give the new legal nurse consultant a background in what we do, how we do it and all of the variety of things that come under the LNC umbrella. Reading this might expose you to things that are really interesting to them, and maybe easier to get business started than the traditional LNC who wants to just work from home and read cases all day.
2. Join a chapter of AALNC – either one that meets in person or a virtual one. Those are critical because you are going to get ongoing education and a built in network of other legal nurse consultants to potentially get work from and learn from. There are ever growing opportunities in the LNC world and new LNCs should keep their mind open to that.
3. Join a listserv like the LNC Exchange and Legal Med (these are Yahoo groups). Read every single post every single day. You will just learn a tremendous amount about the process of legal nurse consulting and the kinds of issues legal nurse consultants handle. It’s just awesome.
4. Learn and understand what legal nurse consultants do, how they do it and in what arenas they practice. This builds a foundation for starting a legal nurse consulting business.Attend AALNC conferences, as much as you can do to really understand the role and learn about that because that will give you a basis within which to think about your nursing knowledge. Your nursing knowledge is important, but you have to make it work in the legal arena and you can’t do that without some education. I think those are some very critical things.
5. Have a pristine professional CV without formatting and typos. Have somebody professionally review it. You don’t want embarrassing typos affect your chances of starting a legal nurse consulting business.
6. You need working electronics. If you’re working with a real fax machine, it needs to be on the line to receive faxes. You need to have a good Internet connection. You need to have a computer that’s reliable. I know that this might sound really silly, but I cannot tell you how many people have said, “Oh my computer is on the fritz. Oh my computer is really slow today. Oh I didn’t get that email because I don’t have a smartphone.”
7. You have to be in touch and respond quickly to a call about a case. If I reach out to somebody and I don’t hear from them in 24 hours or less, they are probably not going to work for me because I’ve already moved on to find somebody else. It might sound silly, but you should have some basic good electronics and good computer skills. You should be able to use Word and Excel. You should be able to manipulate documents. You should be able to make a basic four column chart and input data into it.
8. Get the advice of an accountant to help you set up some policies about retainers and contract agreements with your clients. Everybody needs to get a retainer for every case with every attorney.
9. Know what you don’t know. I think it’s really dangerous to take every case that comes in because of not wanting to let the attorney down. You could go outside of your expertise and take on a case that you may not be an expert at. But you run the risk of missing something or of having to do so much research that you can’t charge your attorney for because he’s coming to you assuming that you know something about this topic. I would say to be careful not to overstep your area of expertise and put yourself at risk by not really knowing the clinical area.
Mindy Cohen shared so much helpful information in her podcast – LNP 16: Secrets of a Successful Legal Nurse Consultant. Listen to it here.
Hungry for more? Invest in a copy of my 2016 book, How to Start a Legal Nurse Consulting Business. This new book is chock full of advice for starting a legal nurse consulting business.