As a legal nurse consultant I would not presume to understand the legal profession as well as a paralegal because they are part of the legal profession. As a registered nurse/case manager/legal nurse consultant I have spent my entire career functioning within the medical arena. It is THAT medical knowledge and experience a LNC brings to the legal team. So thinking of the two (paralegal and legal nurse consultant) interchangeably is like comparing apples to oranges.
I recently read a blog post in The Clinical Advisor that aptly describes the differences between a paralegal and a LNC.
Paralegals are extremely crucial to the legal team and perform various duties that an LNC may not have the expertise to carry out as far as legal particulars go. The two roles differ in that LNCs have nursing expertise to assist attorneys in educating their clients about medical events that occur in their cases, such as breaches in standards of care.
There are subtle nuances that a LNC can pick up on in reviewing a medical file that might be missed by a paralegal because they do not have a medical background. When a LNC reviews a medical record, she/he is doing it from a foundational medical view point. We LNCs are nurses first, and that starting point will ALWAYS give us a different and highly advantageous view. In many instances knowledge and understanding of the nuances can make or break a case and save thousands of dollars.
The next time you have a case involving medical records/issues consider a legal nurse consulting evaluation/report. It will be money well spent.