Learn About Being a Legal Nurse Consultant

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published December 10, 2019

What does a legal nurse consultant do?

A legal nurse consultant acts as an expert witness on legal cases that involve medical issues. Legal nurse consultants combine their legal knowledge with their clinical experience and medical education to help legal cases progress. The responsibilities of a legal nurse consultant include:

  • Using their knowledge and expertise to ensure that patients received quality care in a legal situation

  • Reviewing, researching, and interpreting medical records to provide insight to a legal team

  • Having a current and thorough understanding of health care standards 

  • Acting as a liaison between medical facilities, insurance companies and the court

  • Testifying as an expert witness during court proceedings

Average salary

According to Indeed, the average salary for a legal nurse consultant in the United States varies by location, employer and experience. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $91,457 per year

  • Some salaries range from $29.68 to $126.59 per hour.

Legal nurse consultant requirements

To become a legal nurse consultant, you will need to consider several specific requirements, including:

Education

Legal nurse consultants must have a nursing degree from a two- or four-year college or university. An associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing is required before you can apply to be licensed. This will likely involve courses in biology, anatomy and medical terminology. You will gain additional practical experience through clinical labs and observations.

Training

Before securing a position as a legal nurse consultant, you will most likely need to train in a clinical environment to acquire practical nursing expertise before entering into the legal field. It is typically necessary for aspiring legal nurse consultants to achieve certification as a registered nurse.

The training involved in becoming a legal nurse consultant varies depending on your specific industry. You can find an internship or position with a law firm, hospital or insurance agency. In any of these situations, you would most likely learn from senior employees while on the job. Familiarity with both the healthcare and legal industries will benefit you as you work toward finding work as a legal nurse consultant.

Certifications

Credentials are not required to be a legal nurse consultant, but there is a relevant certification that is often recommended:

Legal Nurse Consultant Certified

Earning the LNCC designation shows potential employers and others in the industry that you are committed to the field of legal nurse consulting. It is awarded after you take and pass a 200-question exam. The exam is available to those who have a current RN license, five years of practical nursing experience and 2,000 hours of legal nursing experience. The certification is valid for five years before it must be renewed. 

Skills

Legal nurse consultants will likely need a combination of medical, legal, and personal skills, including:

Organizational skills

Legal nurse consultants will need to organize and record a considerable amount of paperwork related to their cases. This includes maintaining medical records and submitting legal paperwork.

Technical expertise

An in-depth understanding of the legal process and legal terms may aid a legal nurse consultant in their goal of providing quality care for patients and clients. Law school is not required to become a legal nurse consultant. However, the LNCC certification exams test your knowledge of terminology related to both healthcare and the legal process.

Communication skills

Public speaking, writing and interpersonal skills will be valuable in the legal nurse consulting field. You may be required to testify in court, submit written reports, and interview patients and clients while working in this career.

Research skills

One of a legal nurse consultant’s most significant roles in a legal proceeding is to find, record and present medical evidence. A valuable skill is the ability to collect relevant information from a variety of sources, including medical information systems, interviews, medical records and legal documents. 

Legal nurse consultant work environment

A legal nurse consultant’s workplace will vary depending on their employer. Legal nurse consultants may find work with hospitals, insurance agencies or law firms. In any of these environments, legal nurse consultants can expect to:

  • Spend long hours digitally and manually collecting and filing medical records and legal paperwork

  • Regularly participating in interpersonal interactions with clients, patients and coworkers, including interviews and team meetings

  • Provide medical insight and expertise through interviews or while testifying

  • Collect and prepare evidence for presentation

  • Ensure medical professionals adhere to the standards of patient care

How to become a legal nurse consultant

The process of becoming a legal nurse consultant has several specific steps:

1. Pursue an education.

Earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. These degrees are the first step in gaining the nursing expertise and experience you need to be a legal nurse consultant. The coursework and clinical labs will give you the fundamental knowledge you need to make informed decisions and offer accurate recommendations during legal proceedings. 

2. Become a certified registered nurse. 

According to the NCSBN, after graduation, you must apply for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination to become a registered nurse. Working as a registered nurse will provide the extensive practical experience you need before you can serve as an expert in a legal case.

3. Receive experience and training. 

After becoming an RN, you will need to work for several years in a clinical environment providing quality healthcare to patients. Some healthcare facilities also provide legal nurse consultant training programs, which may help you finish your training more quickly.

4. Pursue LNCC credentials.

Certification is optional but can help you improve your potential employment opportunities. Requirements vary by state but typically include years of clinical and legal consulting experience and a passing grade on an examination.

Legal nurse consultant job description example

Edgar James Memorial Hospital is seeking a legal nurse consultant to join its legal team. The nurse consultant will handle the collection and presentation of evidence, record and organize legal documentation, and act as a liaison between the hospital and other parties during legal proceedings. A bachelor’s degree in nursing and a current Registered Nurse license is required. LNCC credentials and two to four years of experience in the legal consulting field are a plus.

Related careers

  • Registered nurse

  • Lawyer

  • Paralegal

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