LNCtips.com: 10 Ways to Get Law Firm Jobs
A frequent lament of new legal nurse consultants is, "How can I get a job that requires law firm experience when I don't have any law firm experience?" As a new legal nurse consultant, you probably won't have experience working in a law firm setting. However, you probably have other types of training and skills that demonstrate the traits that law firms seek in an LNC. Let's look at 10 skills/experiences/traits and see how we can transition them to address the requirement for law firm experience.
One of the reasons that law firms require law firm experience is that nurses with this type of experience require less training. My observations working with new legal consultants are below. The resumes of new legal nurse consultants:
Put too much weight on their nursing experience, expecting to impress prospective employers with their clinical credentials.
Vastly underestimate the amount of time it takes to transition from RN skills to LNC skills.
Of course, clinical credentials are important. However, other types of experience make you a more desirable candidate for a law firm job than nurses who list nothing but clinical skills on their resumes. That's because law firms will need to train you less if you have medical record review skills, as well as traits such as analytic ability, organizational capabilities, and communication skills. Here are the types of experience that transition well to law firm requirements.
Independent consulting. If you've been an independent consultant, you already know how to analyze medical records. You might also have additional experiences, such as locating experts, which are important to prospective law firm employers.
Temporary LNC. Temporary legal nurse consultant positions are becoming more common. In these types of positions, you contract with a law firm to provide full-time services in-house for several months or more. If you want to work in a law firm, this is a great entree into law firm work.
Subcontractor. A subcontracting position can take two forms. One, a law firm hires you to work on-site or off-site, but with no benefits. Two, an independent legal nurse consultant hires you to perform overflow work. In either case, you'll be reviewing medical records, which is one of the prime requirements for law firm work.
Peer Review Committees. Peer review committees review medical cases to determine problems in patient care. Therefore, participation in peer review committees is a great way to show law firms that you understand standards of care.
Chart Audits. Chart auditing involves retrospective review of medical records to evaluate the effectiveness of care. This skill is exactly what legal nurse consultants do on a daily basis.
QA/QI. Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement positions involve ensuring that healthcare institutions meet quality care standards. Nurses who have this skill can easily transition to reviewing standards of care in medical malpractice cases.
Legal Aid. Legal Aid services provide free or inexpensive legal representation to low income clients. Granted, it's unlikely that you'll review any medical malpractice cases. However, volunteering your time to review cases with medical implications (domestic violence, for example) helps build skill in reviewing records and communicating with attorneys. In addition, you might be able to obtain a reference or recommendation from one or more attorneys.
Management. Managers learn to communicate well, prioritize, and function both independently and as team members. Those are all skills that law firms expect from legal nurse consultants.
Risk Management. Risk managers identify and correct, when possible, potential risks that could injure patients and staff. With legal nurse consulting, the injury has already occurred. However, analyzing the variables that led to the injury remain the same in both professions.
Mentorship/Internship. Mentorships and internships are situations in which you work alongside an experienced legal nurse consultant. Because of the time and effort involved with these programs, expect to pay the mentor for his or her loss of time and income while training you. On the plus side, you will have a good grasp of the role and skills of the legal nurse consultant after you complete your program.
You don't need to have all of the experiences listed above. Just be sure to list the ones you DO have prominently on your resume. Listing these experiences will make it easier for law firms to hire you because they'll know that you have the skills to perform law firm LNC responsibilities.