The majority of nurses and probably healthcare professionals (maybe except dentists and physicians) represent themselves when contacted by the State Board. This is called pro se and this means you are not represented by an attorney. There is nothing wrong with pro se.
Pro Bono is when an attorney takes a case without payment. Attorneys can donate their services and volunteer to take cases assisting underserved populations. I believe in a few states, pro bono may be required. Most legal professional associations suggest their members take one or more pro bono cases a year or volunteer and provide pro bono services to a underserved group in need of legal services.
What is low bono? This is when an attorney provides legal services to a client at a discounted or almost free rate or charge.
See ABA Model Rule 6.1 which states in part:
Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year. In fulfilling this responsibility, the lawyer should:
(a) provide a substantial majority of the (50) hours of legal services without fee or expectation of fee to:
(1) persons of limited means or
(2) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means.
This has been wild month. I had a nurse call the office who needed assistance before the State Nursing Board.
The nurse told me the following immediately:
1. I have no money;
2. I have been out of work for 3 years; and
3. I need you to take my case pro bono or for a small fee.
I told the nurse immediately:
1. I am sorry you have been out of work for 3 years;
2. I do not take pro bono or low bono cases; and
3. I will be happy to speak with you by phone about your options but I cannot represent you; I am sorry.
The nurse then proceeded to tell me she was referred to me by a healthcare employer who suggested she retain me and suggested she inquire about "pro bono services" with my office because all lawyers must do pro bono.
I informed the nurse I do not take nurse license defense cases pro bono.
She replied do you not have to take so many pro bono cases a year?
I wanted to reply, "you are shitting me, right?" but I don't use that kind of language in real life, only online as the Nursing Law Bandit.
Attorneys in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana are NOT required to take or perform pro bono services.
Okay so here it is:
My Legal Manifesto: No Pro Bono, No Low Bono. Just Racks on Racks on Racks!
1. Nurse License Defense is right there with Criminal Defense and Family Law with the emotional stress, strain, and the wear and tear.
There is no way in hell I would do this just to do it. This is my passion but I would never compromise my ethics by taking a case pro bono or low bono as a license defense attorney. Please explain, LaTonia because pro bono is all about service to others and the ethical responsibilities and moral underpinnings of the law as a profession.
Helping nurses is my passion and license defense is my mission but I also need gas money.
Also I am working with nurses over an extended period of time and usually for years. I have nurse license defense clients I have worked with since the early years of my solo practice, 2001 to 2004.
I am on board with my nurses until:
a. They fire me;
b. I fire them; or
3. Attorney or Client dies.
It is written this way in my flat fee legal service agreement.
When you see an end in a license defense case, it is a visual hallunication directly related to 4-6 hours of sleep M-F, alternating coffee and Pepsi q2 hours until 2am, and/or you failed to clean your eye glasses.
This is why I would NEVER take a pro bono or no low bono nurse license defense case. Its a professional relationship and I am on your team throughout your nursing career after you retain me and I cannot do this unless there is monetary compensation for me. Sorry!
Show me the green or swipe your credit/debit card, baby!
Racks on Racks on Racks!
I don't know the lyrics but I love the beat to this song!!
Racks on Racks on Racks!
2. Do you as a nurse work for free?
Probably not, so please don't ask me as a nurse and an attorney to work for free for you?
If you are a nurse and you work for free, send me your CV as I would LOVE to have you assist me in my law practice. I will even tip you.
3. RNs average $25-$35.00 an hour or more. Would you work for $9.99 an hour as a RN? Probably not, so please don't ask me as a nurse and attorney to take your nurse license defense case for a flat fee of $500.00 or try to low bono me.
4. LPNs, RNs, and APRNs are not the underserved populations you think of when you think pro bono legal services. Sorry.
5. When the American Nurses Association publishes a pro bono guide for RNs (vetted and recommended by the ANA House of Delegates) suggesting nurses provide 50 hours of skilled nursing care for free and it becomes a part of Ohio Nurse Practice Act and the Ohio Board of Nursing regulations, text me on my cell at 513-604-9330 and say "LaTonia will you defend me to the end for a tube of lip gloss, a case of Pepsi, and a turkey burger/fries with a strawberry lemonade from Ruby Tuesdays." I will text you back and say "you got yourself a lawyer. Now what is your name and what is your alleged action or inaction?"