How does one become a nurse lawyer?

By | 2021-05-07T16:34:24-04:00 July 1st, 2015|2 Comments
Dear Nancy,

How does one become a nurse lawyer?



Dear Brian,

First, you must have a bachelor’s degree in order to be considered for admission into law school. The BS degree does not have to be any specific major, such as nursing, pre-law or political science. Some law schools may tend to prefer certain majors and you can determine this by reviewing their admission requirements on their respective websites.

If you are interested in focusing your law practice in healthcare, you want to focus on law schools with established healthcare courses that you can take as you go through your three-year experience as a law student. Again, there are some law schools that have a strong health law component and there are others that might not have as much choice for you. Checking on the courses offered, and which courses are required and which can be taken as electives, would be important.

After you pass the bar exam and are sworn in as an attorney in your state, you can begin your practice. If you are going to advertise yourself as a nurse lawyer and use credentials such as RN, JD, you will have to maintain your registration as an RN in the state in which you practice. If, in contrast, you are going to practice law, represent nurses and not maintain your RN licensure, then you would not use the title nurse lawyer or the credential RN.

It might be best for you to consult with a nurse attorney in your state about his or her practice and what requirements would be helpful for you to know as you begin this journey. You want to ensure compliance with both your legal and ethical obligations as a nurse and as a lawyer since you will be licensed in both disciplines.

Cordially, Nancy


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About the Author:

Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN
Our legal information columnist Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN, received her Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and concentrates her solo law practice in health law and legal representation, consultation and education for healthcare professionals, school of nursing faculty and healthcare delivery facilities. Brent has conducted many seminars on legal issues in nursing and healthcare delivery across the country and has published extensively in the area of law and nursing practice. She brings more than 30 years of experience to her role of legal information columnist. Her posts are designed for educational purposes only and are not to be taken as specific legal or other advice. Individuals who need advice on a specific incident or work situation should contact a nurse attorney or attorney in their state. Visit The American Association of Nurse Attorneys website to search its attorney referral database by state.


  1. Avatar
    Maimuna Mbye September 16, 2017 at 11:49 am - Reply

    I am currently studying as a RN from the Gambia, west Africa. I want to pursue a bachelors in psychiatry before applying to a law school. Is that ok?

  2. Avatar
    Chris P January 8, 2018 at 6:12 am - Reply

    Could you please tell me your experience as a nurse attorney and the current job outlook of the market? I’ve read of nurse attorneys going back to bedside nursing due to being in a poor market and not graduating from a top ten law school. Thanks!

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