Certified Nurse Paralegal Specialty

The paralegal industry is one of the most interesting throughout all legal professions as it allows the marriage between multiple professional disciplines. If you’re a registered nurse, but wish to delve into the complexities and rewards of the paralegal industry, then you may be interested in becoming a certified nurse paralegal. Certified nurse paralegals are experienced RN’s who have a genuine interest nit he legal process. If you’re interested in transforming your career into a new profession, then continue reading to uncover the unique processes involved in becoming a certified nurse paralegal.

Certified Nurse Paralegal Job Duties and Functions

A certified nurse paralegal, which is also referred to as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant (CLNC), call upon their legal and medical training to offer high-level support to lawyers during medical-related trials and litigation. These professionals differ from a traditional paralegal because of the vast amount of educational and work experience required. Therefore, these professionals are often given greater responsibilities and higher average salaries.

Although the exact job requirements for a certified nurse paralegal can slightly vary based upon the state where they work as well as the law firm their employed by, there are several universal job duties, which include:

  1. Detailing relevant medical practices to lawyers and clients
    2. Analyzing various medical documents relevant to a case
    3. Locating and interviewing experts that are relevant to a case
    4. Writing and editing documents that are to be used by lawyers during a trial or litigation
    5. Calling upon their medical expertise to project the various medical costs of a case

Certified nurse paralegals can work in a wide variety of settings. It’s not uncommon for a certified nurse paralegal to be employed by law firms, insurance companies, government agencies and hospitals. They may also work as freelance legal consultants, which typically offers greater work and salary flexibility.

Educational Requirements for a Certified Nurse Paralegal

Unlike a traditional paralegal, the educational and work requirements are far more strict for certified nurse paralegals. While the state you work in may feature unique requirements, in general you’ll be required to earn a Registered Nurse designation by satisfying the eligibility requirements for your state, which typically requires a two or four-year degree in nursing. Many certified nurse paralegals earn a certificate in paralegal studies to prepare them for this dynamic role.

Generally speaking, a certified nurse paralegal must work for a minimum of five years as a Registered Nurse and must hold an active RN license by their state. In order to earn the Certified designation, you must complete an examination by a national certifying organizations, such as the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board. Along with the five year nursing requirement, you must also have at least 2,000 hours of legal nurse consulting within the previous three years.

Questions You Should Ask During a Paralegal Job Interview

The majority of aspiring paralegals spend a significant amount of time wondering how they’re going to answer questions asked by their interviewer. However, many paralegals find themselves avoiding one of the most important interview-prep steps – determining what questions they’re going to ask. Far too many times, an interviewee is stumped when the hiring manager asks, “So, what questions do you have for me?”

This is one of the greatest opportunities you have to set yourself apart from other candidates. By asking smart, thought-provoking questions you’re able to clearly demonstrate that you’ve performed your necessary research and are ready to take control of the conversation and gear it toward the realm of being hired. This small little step within the interview process can bring you so much closer to landing the job.

However, one of the biggest issues faced by those in this position is determining what questions to ask. Although there are literally hundreds of questions that are appropriate, the following is a sample of the best questions to ask during this phase of your interview.

Always start with your education, focusing on how you received the best online paralegal certificate program, or how your school was ranked in the top programs in the nation. As you’ll most likely have minimal experience in the legal field when applying for a paralegal position, you’ll want to showcase your education as your main value to the hiring firm.

Question #1 – What will my average day be like?

It’s not uncommon for a hiring manager to highlight the most positive and exciting elements of a job while simultaneously glossing over the more mundane tasks. By asking this question, you’re inviting the interviewer to go off script and giving you the real scoop on the position. This also gives you a greater understanding of what will be expected of you, so you won’t be surprised on your first day of work.

Question #2 – Why are you hiring for this position?

Asking why a position is open is an exciting opportunity to determining whether or not there is growth potential within the legal firm. If you find out that the person who previously held this position was promoted, then you can expect an opportunity for advancement within the firm.

Question #3 – What type of person has done great in this position in the past?

This is a slight variation to the previous question. By asking this question, it’s showcasing that you’re envisioning yourself in the position and are more than eager to adjust your work qualities and expectations to ensure success within the role. By asking about the various attributes of what made an employee successful in this role, you’re showcasing your awareness of the importance of ensuring you’re a good fit with the overall culture and expectations of the position. This is also an excellent opportunity to make a final determination as to whether or not you’d be a good fit.

Do States Require Paralegal Certification?


Within the realm of the paralegal profession, the notion of certification is nothing new. However, there’s one element that causes much confusion – certification. While becoming certified within a profession is not unheard of, especially when dealing with the legal industry. When dealing with the paralegal industry, there are two primary levels of certification.

National Paralegal Certification

The first is national certification. These are carried out by nationally recognized certification bodies, such as the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. These certification examinations scale your knowledge of the legal system on national scale. While these certifications are essential for many paralegals to progress throughout their career, if you’re looking to truly enhance your career options and upward mobility then completing a state-level paralegal certification may be worth your time.

While state certification is not a requirement to work within this profession, it’s a recommended journey to increase your marketability and placement in this industry. However, one of the major problems when achieving this goal is understanding the legalities and eligibility requirements. Although every state is different, the following information can help guide you throughout the process of obtaining state-level paralegal certification.

State Paralegal Certification

Although state certification isn’t necessarily required to work as a paralegal, if you’re looking to enhance your career in any fashion, then this is a necessary step. The certification process is largely dependent on your state. Many states offer their own certification examination through its state bar association. For example, North Carolina, Texas and Florida offer this certification exam via its bar association. Other states, such as Louisiana and Kentucky, offer state-level paralegal certification through its Professional Paralegal Association, which is not operated under the local bar association.

Regardless of who issues state certification, each examination features a unique list of eligibility requirements. These requirements generally range from completed educational programs to years of work history as a paralegal. In recent years, these also may include various online paralegal degree options that students may choose to enroll in. More on these rules may be found here.

Because state certifications are different than national certification examinations as they are more localized to regional laws, the exact topics covered will slightly vary. Although specific topics can vary, there are several universal topic domains covered by an examination. These include:

Communication | The purpose of this section of the examination is to gauge your understanding when it comes to gathering and reporting information as well as understanding how to clearly interact with lawyers and attorneys.

Research | This section determines your basic understanding of authenticating and finding information via various research techniques.

Analysis | Determine how you can accurately assess client situations and suggest potential courses of action.

Paralegal Job Interview Tips to Land the Position

Paralegal job interview

Once you’ve decided on how to get a paralegal certification you’ll want to focus on security a position as a paralegal within a law firm. There is a wide variety of data on the paralegal career, however the best advice comes down to who you know (networking) and how you present yourself; much like any other professional application process.

How to Secure a Job as a Paralegal

The legal industry job market remains one of the most competitive when compared to many other industries. This is especially true when it comes to those who seek to work as a paralegal. Because of the vast amount of competition you’ll encounter throughout your job search, it’s of utmost importance that you put your best face – and resume – forward when undergoing a job interview. Surprisingly, a large number of job seekers find themselves with real problems during the interview stage. In fact, roughly 32 percent of top executives reviewed found that most professionals make the most mistakes during the actual interview phase.

In many cases, your interview mistakes can be chalked up to a case of nervousness. However, in many other cases, these mistakes are the direct result of using poor judgment during the interview. A harsh reality is many mistakes that happen within your interview can severely impair your likelihood of landing the job. However, there are several tips you can follow to help nail the interview and potentially land the paralegal job of your dreams.

Tip #1 – Eat At Home

While you may be wearing your finest interview outfit, if you bring your breakfast or lunch with you to the interview room, you’ve made one of the biggest mistakes you can make. No hiring manager wants to watch you take a bite out of your sandwich or take a sip of your coffee while you’re answering their questions. Leave all food and beverages (including water) in your car or in the waiting room.

Tip #2 – Turn Off Your Phone

This may seem like an impossible feat, but counter to what many people think, always being connected (especially during an interview) doesn’t make you seem more important. In fact, it can have the opposite effect. During an interview, you should turn your phone completely off. Some think that putting their phone on vibrate is the most effective way to handle this situation, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If your phone vibrates while you’re answering a question, it could throw your concentration off, which may make you fumble through your answers or misunderstand a question.

Tip #3 – Don’t Be Too Friendly

Sure, having a level of friendliness is absolutely essential to ensure a positive interview. However, don’t go overboard with your candor. This is especially true when offering personal details about your life and career. Keep the conversation professional, but also friendly. Focus your answers on explaining your work history, qualifications and other life experiences that demonstrate your quality as the ideal candidate for the job. Remember: the interview room is not the water cooler.