IT'S ALL FREE! Letters of Understanding

Congratulations!  You just got your first client and you're itching to review some medical records.  However, before you start your review, take time to put the terms of your spoken discussion with the attorney into a letter of understanding.  A written letter of understanding identifies the terms of the spoken agreement for your services.  That way, both you and the attorney will be clear about your upcoming assignment.  Let's look at the types of things to include in your letter of understanding.

When negotiating your services with an attorney, there are several areas of potential misunderstanding.  To prevent misunderstandings, include the following in your letter of understanding:

* The nature of the assignment.  This could be analysis of medical records, review of billing records, expert retention, work product, internet research, etc.

* Deadlines.  Include deadlines for each part of the assignment.

* Your fees as they pertain to the assignment.  You may already have a separate fee schedule.  However, incorporating fees into the letter of understanding makes it doubly clear what you will charge the client.

* Your billing practices.  Again, you may have this outlined in your fee schedule, but adding it to the letter of understanding reinforces expectations about client payment.

Below is a sample letter of understanding.  The sample includes the use of a subcontracted employee, record review, work product, and expert retention.

As you can see from the sample, it would be difficult for either the attorney or the legal nurse consultant to be confused about this assignment.  The letter of understanding outlines the scope of the consultation, the consultant's retainer fee, the hourly fee, the expected billing, and deadlines.  These letters of understanding do just what they say.  They help attorneys and legal nurse consultants understand the terms of the LNC's assignment.

...Katy Jones