Are you interested in an inhouse LNC job at a law firm? Here’s what you should consider when looking at a specific opportunity.
Some of this information you may be able to obtain from a company website, and other details you would need to find out if you are selected for an interview. Do your research first.
What is the firm like?
1. Is the firm large, small or somewhere in between? This impacts firm culture, decision making, and ease of communication within the firm.
2. Does the firm do primarily plaintiff or defense work and what’s your comfort level doing one versus the other? Some nurses are just uncomfortable doing plaintiff work, much preferring to be on the defense side.
3. How many attorneys of the firm work on medical malpractice and other personal injury cases and what is the ratio of LNCs to attorneys? Obviously this impacts both work load and job security.
Role of the inhouse LNC
4. What is the position called: legal nurse consultant? Nurse paralegal? Just this point alone will tell you if the firm is current in understanding the LNC’s role and that it is not a paralegal position.
5. How are LNCs compensated? How many hours a week are they expected to work? Is this a salaried position? How does the hourly rate compare to the rate of clinical positions in your area? Some firms compensate their nurses very well. Others pay less than the local hospital pays a staff nurse.
6. Ask about the firm’s measurement of productivity. Most defense firms use time sheets and billable hours as a measure of productivity, whereas plaintiff firms usually do not. Some plaintiff firms may have a requirement to track time that you spend on various cases.
7. Are inhouse LNCs expected to give medical care to employees? One attorney asked the nurse about a rash he had on his thigh. When the nurse asked him to drop his trousers he quickly changed the subject.
8. What is the culture of the firm? Is it quite hierarchical and formal or is it more informal? What is the dress code? What setting are you most comfortable in? Can you work at your own home?
Nature of the Firm
9. What is the reputation of the firm generally and among its lawyers individually? For example, you might want to find out if any of the attorneys are members of such organizations as Best Lawyers in America, The American College of Trial Attorneys, The American Board of Trial Advocates, or other prestigious professional attorney organizations that require peer review for admittance.
10. What is the rating of the firm and the attorneys on www.martindale.com? Do any of the attorneys regularly present at local and state bar seminars?
8. Does the firm have a mission statement or a set of core values? Is it exemplified by the behavior of the attorneys and staff? I’ve seen very formal firms and others that are more relaxed.
9. Are any of the lawyers listed as Superlawyers (if the state uses that system of peer nomination?) Are any of the attorneys certified trial lawyers, which means that they have a great deal of experience and have gone through a rigorous process of proving their credentials.
10. Is there anything positive or negative about the firm in the local legal newspaper or online site?
Reading your state’s Law Journal, which is a newspaper or website directed to the attorney population, is a really good way to find out what’s going on in the legal community. What are hot issues?
- Who’s getting in trouble for ethics violations?
- What new laws affect your practice?
- Which judge has been chastised for misbehaving in the courtroom?
- Which firms have had major victories?
Working as an inhouse LNC at law firm can be rewarding and a great environment in which to see how the legal system functions. Do your homework before you leap.
Discover the inside story of working as an inhouse LNC by listening to Beth Zorn RN provide Secrets of Success for Working as an Inhouse LNC
Is working as an inhouse LNC at a law firm right for you? How can you create the most value for your skills? What are the pros and cons of this fast-paced role? An experienced LNC employed by a prestigious plaintiff law firm shares her knowledge on how to maximize the role of the inhouse LNC. Order here.