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Blending Medicine and Law: A Comprehensive Guide to the Nurse Paralegal Profession

Published on: Feb 29, 2024

Nurse paralegals are professionals who possess both nursing and paralegal qualifications. This unique combination of skills enables them to offer legal teams both medical and legal expertise, making them a significant asset for law firms. In cases that involve medical issues, nurse paralegals may be able to interview clients with medical conditions and provide critical testimony regarding their health status. On the other hand, a legal nurse consultant (LNC) is a registered nurse who works with legal professionals and acts as an expert medical witness in medical cases. Although the duties of a nurse paralegal and an LNC may seem similar, an LNC does not need specialized education, and legal knowledge is optional to practice in this position.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide explaining the necessary skills, education, and training required to become a nurse paralegal.

Nurse Paralegal Role and Responsibilities

The job duties of a nurse paralegal will usually depend on their specific roles and their employers, such as whether they are working for a hospital or law firm. However, in general, the standard job duties for this profession include the following: 

  • Studying and researching legal issues and problems

  • Reviewing medical records

  • Providing expert witness support

  • Verifying the authenticity and accuracy of information and details and cross-checking facts

  • Interviewing witnesses and clients in regards to their medical health

  • Preparing, filing, and organizing legal documents

  • Helping legal professionals prepare for trial

  • Reviewing documents such as trial transcripts and depositions

  • Preparing exhibits and other visual aids

  • Ensuring essential deadlines are met

  • Making sure case chronology is kept 

Nurse paralegals are a specialized type of paralegal job in high demand for their ability to provide thorough analysis and expert evaluations of legal and medical matters. They are often involved in legal cases related to medical malpractice lawsuits, personal injury lawsuits, insurance claims processing, and workers’ compensation claims. 

In addition, nurse paralegals play a vital role in bridging the gap between the medical and legal communities. They possess a unique skill set, including translating complex medical terminology into understandable language. For example, they use their nursing profession to help explain medical concepts to non-medical professionals by simplifying technical jargon. Moreover, nurse paralegals can also use their legal training to assist healthcare professionals in complying with the relevant laws and regulations that govern their practices and procedures. That is why there are many job opportunities for a nurse paralegal.

Path to Becoming a Nurse Paralegal

There are different paths to becoming a nurse paralegal. Some people in this role already hold a nursing license and then receive paralegal training or continue their education and obtain legal or paralegal degrees. Or they were paralegals who obtained a nursing license. However, the most standard route to becoming a nursing paralegal involves the following steps: 

  • Completed a registered nurse (RN) program, which can involve obtaining an associate or bachelor’s degree

  • Obtain experience in various nursing practice areas, which is usually at least two to three years

  • Completing a nurse paralegal program that the American Bar Association approves, as this certification often signifies that graduates are well-prepared to deal with the profession’s demands

  • Finish an internship in the legal field 

Although paralegals and nurses each have unique certifications, individuals may sometimes pursue an additional certification to find work as a nursing paralegal. The American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board (ALNCCB) is an association that helps individuals looking to obtain a nurse paralegal certification. However, to be licensed by the ALNCCB, an individual must have a nursing license, 2000 hours of legal nurse consulting experience, and sit for a Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC) exam. Although obtaining this certification is not required by all firms, it can make nurse paralegals more attractive to potential employers.   

It may also be worthwhile to join specific associations, such as theNational Federation of Paralegal Associations or theNALA, The Paralegal Association, as these organizations provide certification programs, information about continuing education, and career resources. By obtaining these association certifications and joining the associations, individuals will not only be able to find more lucrative positions but will likely be better prepared for the job.

Skills and Qualities for Success as a Nurse Paralegal

Nurse paralegals can explain and understand specific areas common to both practices. However, while a nurse paralegal has many unique skills and qualities, some of the more common traits that this position possesses include the following:

  • Medical knowledge to be able to cross-check facts and verify the authenticity of medical information

  • Analytical and critical thinking skills

  • Effective communication skills to be able to talk to clients and other legal professionals

  • A strong attention to detail

  • Proactive mindset and problem-solving skills

  • Research and writing skills

  • Time management skills

Career Opportunities and Advancement

Although nurse paralegals typically work for law firms specializing in medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, social security, and wrongful death cases, there are various other job opportunities in this field. Insurance companies, hospitals, government agencies, and other medical institutions may hire nurse paralegals to help them with legal matters. When nurse paralegals work in hospitals, their primary responsibility is to ensure that the organization complies with the law by analyzing patients’ treatments and preparing medical summaries for the hospital. A nurse paralegal may help facilitate legal operations at a doctor's office and offer advice regarding certain legal issues. For instance, they may be required to make judgment calls about how a doctor should aid a patient based on their medical and legal training.  In an insurance company, a nurse paralegal may be required to consult on medical malpractice lawsuits or claims. 

However, as nurse paralegals continue to get experience in the legal field, there are numerous opportunities for advancement and potential paths for further specialization. For instance, a nurse paralegal may get promoted to a nurse case manager, while others may become involved in a more specialized field, such as the personal injury litigation unit.

Nurse Paralegal Salary and Job Market Outlook

The average salary for nurse paralegals usually ranges between $84,00 and $110,000. However, a nurse paralegal’s salary may differ based on the employer’s industry. Other factors can also influence these earnings, including a person’s nursing experience, their credentials, and any additional skills they have. 

It is also important to note that the paralegal field has experienced consistent growth over the past few years, per theU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth will likely continue for the foreseeable future, potentially leading to an increase in salaries for nurse paralegals.

Securing a Role as a Nurse Paralegal

If you are looking for a nurse paralegal job, it may be beneficial to consider the following steps:

Volunteering or Getting an Internship

Individuals who aspire to become nurse paralegals usually begin their careers as either a nurse or as a paralegal and then undergo further training or education to attain certification in the other field. Subsequently, many nurse paralegals start working for medical agencies, doctors, or law firms in entry-level positions to continue acquiring legal and medical experience. 


Networking has always been an effective way to find employment, particularly in the legal industry. For example, paralegal associations, such as the National Association for Legal Support Professionals (NALS), offer various opportunities to meet and network with other professionals, attend conferences, continue your education, form relationships, and even find jobs. 

Working for a committee within a paralegal organization is also an excellent way to showcase your organizational skills and get to know other professionals in the legal field. Experienced paralegals in these committees are often approached by recruiters looking for suitable candidates for job opportunities in a particular area of law.

Build a Resume

Having a well-crafted resume that clearly outlines your job responsibilities and showcases your nursing experience, legal knowledge, skills, and accomplishments is an excellent strategy to grab the attention of potential employers. However, remember that this document is typically the first impression employers will have of you, so it is crucial to ensure that it is error-free and portrays you as a reliable candidate.

Prepare for Interviews

If you are going to an interview, you must be well-prepared. You can start by researching the common questions that may come up in the interview and prepare answers to them. Some questions you may want to consider include the following: 

-   Why did you choose to pursue a paralegal career as a nurse?

-   What methods or tools do you use on the job?

-   How have you contributed to your previous roles? 

It is also important to learn more about the company or firm interviewing you and the individuals who will conduct the interview. This can give you a better understanding of the position and the questions you may need to ask. It can also help you to be more confident and demonstrate that you are ready to take on the role.

Go After Your Dream Job Today

Becoming a nurse paralegal can be highly beneficial as it allows you to become a valuable member of both the medical and legal professions. This career path also allows you to explore job opportunities in medical and legal institutions, which can enhance your chances of landing your dream job and improve your long-term earning potential. 

To determine if becoming a nurse paralegal is the right career path for you, it is recommended that you research this diverse profession and learn more about the education and training required.

About the Authors

Written by:

Kasia Nelson, Esq.

Kasia Nelson is a licensed attorney and skilled legal content writer with years of experience. With a background in corporate immigration law, she is well-versed in the intricacies of producing legally accurate and well-researched work. 


  • Michigan State University, B.S.

  • Western Michigan University – Cooley Law School, J.D.

Law Licensures

  • Michigan

Kasia Nelson

Kasia Nelson, Esq.


Education: Western Michigan University – Cooley Law School, J.D.

Knowledge: Corporate Immigration Law

Reviewed by:

Ryan P. Duffy, Esq.

Ryan P. Duffy is an attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina. His practice focuses primarily on Estate Planning, Personal Injury, and Business law. 

Law Licensures

  • New Jersey

  • Pennsylvania (inactive)

  • South Carolina

  • North Carolina

Ryan Duffy

Ryan P. Duffy, Esq.

Editorial Lead

Education: Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, J.D.

Knowledge: Estate Planning