Remember the movie Braveheart? Mel Gibson and his fellow Scottish warriors were preparing for battle with blue face paint, hats with giant horns on them, and crazy hairstyles? Why were they doing this? They were attempting to be paper lions. Their appearance was used to try and scare off the enemy. A paper lion appears fierce and vicious from any distance. Moreover, his appearance alone may make you think twice about approaching him. You may even come to the conclusion that getting near this lion would be unadvisable, and decide on a different path. However, if a Legal Nurse stands up to this paper lion through case preparation, education, and experience he will fall like a house of cards.
In the legal realm where the attorney runs the show, you will find an abundance of these paper lions in every courthouse and law firm. These lions intimidate others in order to get the opposing side to back down and win the case for their clients. This intimidaton is usually used against other lawyers, witnesses, and expert witnesses. These paper lions will utilize a varity of intimidation tactics in order to succeed. Some of these tactics involve flaunting the pedigree of their law degree, bragging about their wins vs. losses, or showing up to a deposition in an Armani suit and an expensive car... The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, this is a part of the attorney trade. The American Bar Association's Rules of Professional Conduct stipulate the attorney must do everything they can (within the rules of professional responsibility) to advocate for their client. If an attorney does not do this, they open themselves up to criticism, reproach, or even punishment by the bar association. Also, the more an attorney wins, the more financially profitable it is for them. If they vigorously represent their client, the word will spread that this is the lawyer to have on your side.
How does this translate to the Legal Nurse
? If a Legal Nurse wants to particiate in the legal realm they must be able to stand up to a paper lion. The Legal Nurse must show themselves to be credible, reputable, and worth their salt. They should exude professionalism and display their knowledge base on a daily basis. The best defense against one of these lions is for a Legal Nurse to know her case, know the medical principles upon which the case rests, and to be well prepared.
Legal Nurses should utilize their tools, such as SmartDraw or report writing, to create a work product that is clear and easy to understand. The credentials of Legal Nurses need to be current and recognized worldwide. When questioned, the Legal Nurse should respond with a succinct and well-thought out answer. If the Legal Nurse doesn't know the answer they should say 'I do not know, but I will find out for you.' Remember, there is no shame in not knowing. Attorneys don't know everything either, but they do know they can find answers to any question through quick research.
Once you get through the lion's exterior you will realize the only thing keeping this lion standing is flimsy paper. This interior makes the paper lion harmless and not threatening. A Legal Nurse's experience, education, credentials, and preparation will always defeat any paper lion encounterd in the wild.