Getting LNC cases requires you to take action and be persistent. When I first started reviewing cases as an expert, I sent letters to 20 attorneys. In addition to a shattered IV bottle case, within a week, I got a call from another attorney whose case went to trial a few months later with me as the defense expert.
Eventually, I got calls from all of the attorneys to whom I sent letters.
Peter, the attorney who gave me my first case, liked working with me, so I took another risk. I said to him, “I’m interested in starting to work with attorneys. Would you be willing to give me the names of ten attorneys who you think would be amenable to me contacting them and asking them if I can assist them with their cases?”
That was a bold request. Most people, when they ask for introductions, request the names of one or two people. Not knowing any better, I asked him for ten, and he sat down and wrote them for me.
I contacted all ten attorneys, and eventually, I got cases from all of them. They included both plaintiff and defense lawyers.
I learned that by taking the risk of asking for attorneys’ names, I got results. But what if I hadn’t asked? What if I had just waited for people to find me? Are you holding back, hoping that cases will land in your lap without effort?
I started building up my expert witness work in 1988 when people didn’t have websites. I got my first site in 1995 (and was one of the first people in the LNC field to have a website.)
It was because I acted, because I stuck my neck out, that I got results. I didn’t wait for people to find me. I went looking for them. Then I showed them through my knowledge and capabilities that I could assist them.
I asked for feedback. “How did I do? Is there anything that I could have done differently?”
Are you asking your clients for feedback on your services?
I went through many depositions and trials as an expert witness and testified in sometimes grueling circumstances. Each time I asked the attorney what I did well and what I should improve upon.
I asked my clients, “Tell me how I did. Do I need to change anything? What do you think was strong? What do I need to work on?” They gave me answers. But if I hadn’t asked them, they wouldn’t necessarily have given me that feedback. I was always willing to learn, always seeking out more information, and figuring out how I could help my clients by improving my skills. Is this approach part of your practice too?
After reviewing medical-surgical cases for two years, I got a call from a plaintiff attorney handling an emergency department case. He asked me to be the expert I declined, as I had no ED experience, and referred him to a colleague who was a well-credentialed emergency department nursing clinical specialist. She took the case.
“I wonder if there is a business supplying expert witnesses?” I thought. Spurred on by that question, I created a framework for finding, training, referring, and supervising expert witnesses. The first expert I hired was an emergency department clinical specialist.
My company billed for the experts, which resulted in a lucrative and ultimately saleable multi-million-dollar company.
- Would you like to increase your client base and get more cases from existing clients?
- Would you like to know proven strategies that exponentially increase your success as a legal nurse consultant?
- Would it be helpful to find the types of offline and online venues that are great opportunities for you to meet attorneys?
- Would you be interested in knowing what blocks you have that might be sabotaging your networking efforts?
In my book, Networking for LNCs, I provide a step-by-step process for asking for introductions.
When you read that book, you will:
- Address your objections to networking, get ready for the hunt, and discover how to research local networking opportunities.
- Develop the success mindset needed to effectively connect with people who are either attorneys or those who can introduce you to attorneys.
- Finally, gain a step-by-step process for asking for referrals and following up with opportunities.
What will life look like if you don’t persist in getting your first LNC case? Imagine you’ve gone through your legal nurse consulting program. You’re held back. You’ve got people in your ear saying, “You can’t start a business.” Or nurses you work with say, “Do you really want to work with attorneys?”
You hesitate. You say, “I think a good time to start my business would be at the beginning of the year.” Now it’s June. Are you going to wait six months? Or, Are you going to hesitate? Are you going to lose your momentum?
Some of the LNCs who come to me for coaching to help them with their LNC business reveal their timeline of going months or years without their first case.
In the future, are you going to say, “I’m getting older. I’m getting tired,” or “I’m fearful of failing. Now isn’t the right time to start a business. My mother is sick. I need to pay attention to her.” Or “I’m too uneducated. I don’t have a master’s degree like you do, Pat.”
You’ve got a dozen excuses. One nurse told me that the only legal nurse consultants who were successful in getting started were dating or married to attorneys.
As one of the LNCs who served as president of our national organization, the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants, I met hundreds of LNCs. As I listened to her talk, I thought, “I only know two legal nurse consultants who are married to attorneys.”
You can always come up with excuses. If you don’t take the step to start your business, will you wake up one day and say, “My back is injured; I can’t get out of bed today. I’m getting burned out, and I’m too tired to continue this kind of work.”
Or you could get laid off. Hospitals and healthcare systems merge, and you might be made redundant.
Or you might be in a situation where your unit or your clinical is short-staffed, which is increasingly a problem in today’s COVID era. Nurses are leaving and getting jobs at travel agencies and getting paid significantly more than they get paid when they work on staff in a hospital, for example.
You’re short-staffed, and you’re working harder and harder and harder in an environment that’s very stressful.
When reflecting on the possibilities above, you’ll think, “I should have started my business. I wouldn’t have to be going through this.”
I recommend that you keep your job. You say, “What? Pat, you just listed all the negatives.”
Here’s what I mean.
“Don’t quit your day job” has significant meaning in this field.
Many LNCs build their businesses on the side until it’s generating a steady flow of work and solid cash flow. And then you can pull your foot away step by step from a full-time job to a part-time job.
Getting Your LNC Cases
However, if you don’t take that first step, if you don’t put your foot out, if you don’t take risks, you will never get to the point where you have the satisfaction of owning your own business and not being dependent on an employer for a paycheck.
If you’ve never had a case, it’s easy to say, “This is too complicated for me,” “There’s too much to learn,” or “It’s overwhelming.” But if you stay in that mindset, you will never break free from where you are. And you’ll never experience the successes that come along with being a legal nurse consultant.
Learn more in my book Get Your First LNC Case: An Easy-to-Follow Guide for LNC Success.
Pat Iyer is president of The Pat Iyer Group, which develops resources to assist LNCs in obtaining more clients, making more money, and achieving their business goals and dreams.
Get all of Pat’s content in one place by downloading the mobile app, Expert Edu at www.legalnursebusiness.com/expertedu. Watch videos, listen to podcasts, read blogs, watch online courses and training, and more.