Evaluations & Forensic Case Consultations
When an attorney or the court contacts me to discuss the case at hand (the court or attorney is my potential client, not the defendant or plaintiff), my questions might include:
- What stage of the legal proceeding is the case in?
- What legal issue or question needs to be addressed?
- What gives the lawyer or court reason to be concerned?
- What, if anything, has been done to date to address the issue?
If I decide the matter is within my area of expertise, I prepare a retainer letter describing the scope of work and conditions germane to forensic practice, such as confidentiality and the list of potential records I’ll need to review. The client is responsible for obtaining and providing copies of these records for me.
As with evaluations, case consultations begin with a detailed conversation with the attorney. Services I can bring to a case include:
- Reviewing mental health records
- Preparing a rebuttal to another clinician’s report
- Recruiting other experts
- Preparing witnesses
- Educating the court about research
Evaluations generally consist of:
- Analyzing relevant records as well as information related to the legal issue at hand.
- Interviewing the subject of the evaluation. My ability to communicate with people from all walks of life helps me have productive interviews, even in difficult situations.
- Administering, scoring and interpreting psychological and forensic tests, when applicable.
- Conducting collateral and secondary interviews. Sources of these interviews can include the attorney’s client’s family members, teachers, treatment providers, or anyone else who can provide pertinent information. These interviews rarely happen in my office. Instead, I typically travel to the people I interview, both for their convenience and to help put them at ease.
- Forming a clinical opinion by evaluating all of the data I have collected through the lenses of psychological research, relevant case law, and applicable legal issues.
When I have completed the evaluation, I share my clinical opinion with my client. If appropriate, I prepare a report to be tendered to the court. If I am to take the stand, I can prepare visual aids, such as slides and exhibits, to help the fact finder understand my testimony.