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LNCtips.com: Biased Marketing

Do your marketing materials inadvertently show a preference for plaintiffs over defendants or vice versa?  As a new legal nurse consultant, are you aware that some attorneys perceive certain terms in LNC marketing materials as biased?

I recently reviewed the deposition transcript of a new legal nurse consultant testifying as a plaintiff expert for the first time.  The defense attorney asked questions about phrases from the LNC's website and LinkedIn and Facebook accounts that he felt showed a preference for plaintiffs.  Let's look at some terms taken from actual LNC websites, which attorneys may perceive as being biased. In this case, the terms lean toward the plaintiff.   

Settle and settlement Don't settle for less - settle for more.  A settlement is ALWAYS a win for plaintiffs because it means that the defendant pays money to the plaintiff.  Therefore, if you market to defense attorneys, you may not want to mention settlements.

  • Profits.   Maximize your profits.  Discover hidden dollars in your case.  When plaintiff attorneys win their cases, they make a profit if the payout is greater than their expenses.  Defense attorneys make money but in a different way; a client or insurance company pays them.  Defense attorneys make the same amount of money whether the plaintiff wins or loses.    The amount of money paid to the plaintiff (if any) doesn't affect the defense attorney's payment.  Therefore, there's no way for them to "maximize their profits."   At the start of a case, defense attorneys identify their projected costs for clients and plaintiff attorneys identify their own costs to litigate the case.  Therefore, projecting costs for your role is one way to appeal to both sides.

    Merit.  Let me help your firm even before you decide to take a case by screening cases for merit.  Screening for merit is a plaintiff function.  Once the plaintiff files a lawsuit, it doesn't matter if defense attorneys think the suit is meritorious or not.  Also, defense attorneys never see cases before they become lawsuits.  If you want to take a broader view than screening cases for merit, try Review and analysis of medical records and other medically related documents.

    Deviations.  Identify deviations in standards of care.  This phrase assumes there will be deviations.  Changing the phrase to Identify deviations and adherence to standards of care encompasses both plaintiffs and defendants.

    Potential defendants.   Identify and recommend potential defendants.  Obviously, plaintiff attorneys want to know whom they can sue on behalf of the plaintiff.  On the other hand, defense attorneys sometimes blame other providers for strategic reasons, but calling the providers "potential defendants" is a stretch. Only plaintiff attorneys determine whom they'll name as defendants.

    Damages.  Identify damages to strengthen your case.  Damages strengthen plaintiff cases but weaken defense ones.  However, change the phrase to Identify damages, contributing factors, and causation, and it's pertinent to both plaintiffs and defendants.

    If you're marketing to both defendants and plaintiffs, clearly identify them as desirable clients.  Refrain from using the bulleted terms above.  Also, avoid other terms, such as neglect and abuse.   

    But what if you want to focus your marketing efforts solely on plaintiffs or solely on defendants?  Marketing to a small target audience is an excellent way to present your LNC business if you're an independent legal nurse consultant.  If you're an expert, however, be prepared to answer questions about perceived bias.

    Related webpage: Experts: 10 Things NOT to Write

    Want to learn more about LNC skills for legal nurse consultants? Check out the Archives.

    ...Katy Jones