Occasionally, rarely, I have an “ah-ha” moment. This is one of those moments.
Today I engaged in a very interesting back and forth with a nurse-turned-attorney who was polling LNC fees across the country. He lives in a very economically depressed part of the U.S., and attorneys are loath to spend even 30/hr for a legal nurse consultant, much less the 110-125 most of us charge.
Yet, even in his economy, those same attorneys do not blink at paying paralegals 75/hr and I hear the average billed wage for paralegals nationwide is 95/hr.
And I know why.
Attorneys know the value of a paralegal who can do much of their work. The paralegals perform a huge amount of the legal (a.k.a. leg) work behind complaints, interrogatories and depositions. They know what documents to request, keep track of deadlines, arrange the attorney’s schedule and pay attention to the minutiae that is oh-so painful to most attorneys. They are time-keepers, email overseers and meeting coordinators. They are necessary.
Here is my”ah-ha”. Legal nurses do the same thing. The difference is that they handle medical analysis, chronologies, expert location, disease comprehension, accident reconstruction, trial exhibits, statistical research and analysis of covariance. I’m not entirely sure what the latter is, but my husband pulls it out of his academic hat every time one of our children complains about a statistics course. Legal nurses take the pain out of producing medical questionnaires and lines of questioning for physician depositions, and make sure that the attorney knows exactly what records to request, what is missing, and what is nonsensical.
So clearly, my course is simple. All I need to do is convince the uninitiated attorney that when medical issues are involved, the value of a legal nurse equals that of his paralegal. In this parallel universe, my greatest advocate is the paralegal, who has many more things to do than decipher a medical record or try to construct a chronology around a critical event, or coax an expert down out of a tree.
Nurses and paralegals. Unite.