If you are going to retain an attorney to represent you in a State Nursing Board investigation, hearing, or matter, you should retain an attorney who has experience practicing before the State Nursing Board defending nurses.
This may seem like a no-brainer but I receive a lot of calls, emails, faxes, and texts from nurses across the country who have retained an attorney only to find out later that the attorney really does not have any experience practicing before the State Nursing Board and therefore the advice, counsel, and/or representation provided by said attorney bucks and sucks.
How can you determine if an attorney has experience practicing before the State Nursing Board?
1. Ask the attorney about his or her experience before the State Nursing Board with questions like:
a. How many cases do you currently have before the State Nursing Board?
b. How many cases have you had in the last year before the State Nursing Board?
c. How long have you practiced before the State Nursing Board?
d. Is defending nurses before the State Nursing Board the majority of your law practice? What percentage of your law practice involves nursing law and defending nurses?
DO NOT just rely on what the attorney tells you. Research the attorney and his or her law practice online. Take a look at the firm website and/or blog to determine if nurse license defense is listed as an area of practice.
It is your nursing license and your case. You have a responsibility to yourself to do your own research and homework and locate a reputable attorney to defend you.
How do you find an attorney with experience defending nurses?
1. Online research;
2. Contact your State Nurses Association for a referral to a nurse license defense attorney;
3. Contact The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA); and/or
4. Seek referrals from colleagues.
Also do not believe the hype and also fight the power while you are at it; it is more important to retain an attorney with significant experience in nurse license defense than to retain an attorney who lives 2 miles from you in your city. Geography really is not an issue in these types of cases because most State Nursing Boards are located in a state capitol or another geographically central city in a state. It is more important that you retain an attorney with significant experience than to retain an attorney who lives in your city.
Do your research and retain the right attorney initially because if you have worked with multiple attorneys in your State Nursing Board case it is a red flag. When a nurse tells me she was represented by XYZ law firm initially and then fired that firm and retained ABC law firm because of DEF but then later fired the attorney because of HIJ and is now calling me because of MNOP I see fire engine colored red flags and I always double or triple my flat fee. This usually signals problem client and I need more money to work with problem clients because:
a. the extra Pepsi, coffee, hot tea, and sweet tea I am drinking will eventually lead to a UTI;
b. doctor visits for Ibuprofen 800mg for stress headaches;
c. weaker ankles from having to ride my three-wheeled bike to the post office and walk more to de-stress; I will have to wear my ankles braces which do not coordinate well with my Vera Bradley pocketbooks;
d. weaker wrists from typing harder on my keyboard responding to emails even with an ergonomic keyboard; I will have to wear my wrist braces which do not match my earrings, necklaces, and/or bracelets;
e. in addition to increased costs for Ms. Jessie's, Design Essentials, and other natural hair products because I will have to swim and relax more in my swim spa more frequently. Did I tell you I purchased a swim spa? I love it. My backyard is like a waterpark now with a swimming pool, hot tub built in the deck, and now a swim spa. I am a water sign, Cancer (not CA) and I love the water. I can not wait until the summer although I am swimming in the swim spa now. I increased my legal flat fee agreements charges this year by $9.97 to help defray the financing and electrical costs associated with my swim spa.
f. Working in time for an additional 60-90 minute Christ-centered small group or bible study plus 1-2 hours of weekly prep time because meekly, humbly, patiently, gently, lovingly & nicely saying "four letter profanities" in a brown paper bag isn't emotionally or spiritually healthy.
Okay back to the point, I was making. Do your research on attorneys. It is not about the cheapest attorney, closest attorney, or cutest attorney. You want someone to do their job, be painfully objective, and be fair and honest with you about your case and your options.