You should ALWAYS get a retainer up front before accepting any case. How does a lawyer know that a case, "couldn't have taken four hours to do"? They should know how long it takes to read medical records, they used to do it before they started to hire nurses. Do not let them cut down you fees.
Before you accept an case, after you leave the attorney's office send him/her a letter summarizing what was agreed on.
I can tell you that they pay doctors ALOT MORE THEN THEY PAY NURSES, and doctors to not let them get away with what they are trying to do to nurses. Nurses let them get away with it, and that is why they do it.
Nurses are not used to putting a value on their expertise. The lawyer is paying for YOUR EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, AND EXPERTISE, just like they are doing to doctors, and doctors charge ALOT MORE THAN NURSES. I am talking about hundreds of dollars per hour!! Many of the specialists charge in the thousands!!
Again, do not let them get away with only paying you $45 for a review. You have to pay taxes out of that, you are paying for your supplies and equipment, you are paying for your house/apartment, utilities, etc, to run your business. Just like they do. The ITS requires you to make a profit to be called a business, and take business expenses deductions. You time is worth more than that.
Do not let them wear your down or intimidate you. Nurses are too used to being doormats, are not assertive, and the lawyers know that. Get a retainer before starting work, draw up an agreement for fees, etc, to have them sign, THEN start work.
You might be intersted in taking low cost business and markting classes at a local community college, and meet with the Small Business Association or SCORE, for FREE advice, etc, Look them up.
You might also call the AALNC, and speak to someone for advice. They also have very good books on starting a legal nurse business that are very reasonably priced. When I started to do this 15 years ago, there were not alot of nurses doing this. VM changed all that, she has flooded the market with LNC, who are now a dime a dozen, and are scrambling for work.
You might consider doing Medicare Set Asides, as a business, as alot of Legal Nurse do that in addition to Legal Nursing. There is a web site you can do to. The nurse who teaches it, has been doing it for a number of years, and has only good things said about it. PM me if you want. Hope that I have been a help.
Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
Somewhere in the PACNW