Legal Education Institute (LEI) Frequently Asked Questions
This page contains answers to FAQs about:
Questions about the LNC Profession
- What is a Legal Nurse Consultant?
A legal nurse consultant (LNC) is a registered nurse who uses specialized health care knowledge and expertise to consult on medical related cases. Attorneys have come to rely on these specially trained nurses when faced with cases where health, illness, and injury is an issue. The LNC bridges the gap by integrating his/her knowledge and training in nursing and health care systems with his/her education in the law. The LNC can serve as an expert or as a consultant on a case, but may never do so simultaneously.
- Where are legal nurse consultants working?
Legal Nurse Consultants provide health care experience not only to attorneys and law firms but also to insurance companies, utilization review firms, risk management offices, government agencies, private corporations and hospitals, either as an employee, expert witness or as an independent consultant.
- What if I only have experience in one clinical area?
Widener emphasizes that incoming students should have approximately 3-5 years of clinical experience in order to evaluate and interpret cases. However, the LNC program is designed for any nurse regardless of specialized background or clinical experience. Widener will teach you how to review cases by utilizing the Standards of Care applicable to a variety of medical related scenarios.
Questions about Widener's LNC Program
- Do I need a BSN degree to apply to the Legal Nurse Consultant Program?
No, a BSN is not necessary at this time. The National Board of Nursing is attempting to require all nurses to achieve their BSN; however, this is only a recommendation. Widener accepts diploma, associates, bachelor, and advanced degree RNs.
- When are the courses offered in the Legal Nurse Consultant Program?
Widener provides flexible scheduling with day, evening, and weekend classes offered in the spring, fall, and summer semesters. Students may attend classes on either a full-time or a part-time basis and take as many as four classes or as few as one class a semester. During the fall and spring semesters, classes meet once a week for 15 weeks, with an exam week added at the end. Our summer classes meet twice a week for 6 weeks, with an exam week added at the end. This allows students to complete as many as four classes during the summer session.
- After I have received my certificate, may I use the LNC initials after my name?
No, this is not customary practice. You may, however, place the title Legal Nurse Consultant after your name. The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC) is a national board that offers a certification examination after approximately two years of practicing as an LNC. The examination is based upon the AALNC's Principles and Practices of Legal Nurse Consulting textbook, which Widener uses throughout three of its classes. In essence, Widener prepares the student for the AALNC examination should the student desire to take it. Once the student has passed the AALNC's examination, they may use the LNCC (Legal Nurse Consultant Certified) credential after his/her name.
- How is Widener's program different from other Legal Nurse Consultant programs?
All of Widener's professors are either LNCs themselves, attorneys, or nurse/attorneys. The classroom environment allows students to build strong community bonds with other classmates as well as their professors for future assistance after graduation. In addition, Widener's LNC program provides hands-on computer based instruction in Medical Research and offers students a vast amount of resources in its on campus Law Library. Further, Widener requires students to complete a semester long Mentorship and places students in a variety of legal nurse consulting settings thereby allowing students to gain practical skills training and experience prior to graduation. Widener's program is provided in conjunction with the AALNC and is approved by the American Bar Association.
- Can I be accepted as an LPN?
Currently, LPNs are not eligible to sit for the AALNC certification exam. Based on this criterion Widener does not accept LPNs.
Questions about the Paralegal Profession
- What is a paralegal?
A paralegal is a person who assists an attorney in the practice of law. Responsibilities may include factual research, document analysis, research and cite checking, investigation and legal research. The paralegal may also aid the attorney in drafting pleadings, interrogatories and discovery, interviewing clients, administering trusts and estates, assisting with real estate transactions, drafting certificates and corporate documents needed by state law to form various business entitles as well as assisting in client-related matters.
- What is the job market and earning potential for paralegals?
The following was printed in the July 2007 edition of the Michigan Bar Journal magazine at p 19.
The paralegal profession is still young, existing for only about 40 years.
More than two-thirds of all lawyers use the services of paralegals, and that number continues to rise.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects that paralegal employment opportunities will increase at a much faster rate than average until at least 2014..
- In what areas are paralegals employed?
Paralegals are employed in a wide variety of offices including corporations, government, and law firms. They work in such legal specialties as bankruptcy, insurance, immigration, environmental law, family law, medical malpractice, collections, employee benefits, real estate, wills, trusts, criminal law, and entertainment law.
- Does a paralegal program help prepare you for law school?
The primary goal of a paralegal program is to prepare you to work as a paralegal. As a result, we emphasize practical skills in all aspects of our program. However, this practical knowledge can only be learned in the context of substantive legal theory. Consequently, should you be accepted to law school, you are likely to find your paralegal education helpful. Your familiarity with terminology, legal concepts, and legal research will be advantageous, particularly in your first year.
Questions about Widener's Paralegal Program
- What types of paralegal programs are available?
Widener offers an Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies, which requires completion of 60 credits (or 20 courses); a Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies, which requires completion of 120 credits (or 40 courses); and a Certificate of Completion in Paralegal Studies, which is available only to those with 60 qualifying college credits, and requires completion of 24 credits (or 8 classes).
- When are classes offered?
Day, evening, and weekend classes are offered in the spring, fall, and summer semesters. During the fall and spring semesters, classes meet once a week for 15 weeks, with an exam week added at the end. Our summer classes meet twice a week for 6 weeks, which allows students to complete as many as four classes during the summer.
- When can I start the program?
Widener accepts students to start classes in August, January, and May. These months coincide with the beginning of our fall, spring, and summer semesters. Once your application is processed and approved, you will be contacted to register for the next upcoming semester.
- Can I take classes at my own pace?
Yes, you may take as few as one class per semester. However, since certain classes are not offered every semester, it is important to meet with your advisor to make a plan for completing all required courses. In addition, if you are receiving financial aid, you will want to meet with your financial aid counselor to find out the ramifications of any change in your schedule.
- How do I apply?
You may complete the application online, or you may contact our office at 302-477-2205 to obtain an application by mail. A complete application will include the written application, $30 application fee, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and official copies of any high school or college transcripts. Currently, SAT results are not required.