Clinicians in Court: A Guide to Subpoenas, Depositions, Testifying, and Everything Else You Need to Know

Clinicians in Court: A Guide to Subpoenas, Depositions, Testifying, and Everything Else You Need to Know

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 1593850166

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Mental health and human service professionals are often called on to give evidence or expert testimony in a range of circumstances, including family law and child welfare trials, mental health hearings, malpractice lawsuits, criminal trials, government hearings, and private arbitration. Interacting with the legal system poses many potential challenges, but adequate preparation and a basic understanding of legal processes and terminology can make the experience a more positive one. This volume provides practical information and proven guidelines to help clinicians from any background understand their role in legal proceedings-and participate effectively, ethically, and with minimal stress. Special features include helpful checklists and samples of affidavits, retainer agreements, and other materials that can be adapted for use in the reader's own practice.

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process in detail. Legislation and regulations explain who to contact for access to information, how to apply, and the criteria for granting and denying access (check state websites for the most recent legislation and guidelines). Agency policies should reflect these laws so requests can be processed fairly and efficiently. The fact that a client has obtained 14For more information about federal freedom of information laws and procedures, see www. usdoj.gov/foia/04_ 3.html. First Contact

are testifying as an expert witness, you may be allowed to listen to and incorporate trial testimony into your own testimony. As a fact witness, you may be sequestered to prevent your being influenced by other testimony. Again, ask your attorney in advance to determine where you should wait until you are called. If you do not have a chance to speak with your attorney, you could ask a court clerk. Security guards or officers may be present. Certain officials in the room may have hidden call

and personalities in the venue where you will be presenting. Consultants act as coaches, providing witnesses with opportunities to rehearse, receive immediate feedback, and gain reassurance (Brodsky, 2009). As with an attorney, a consultant may Preparation for Legal Proceedings   109 assist the witness with how to present information, but should not coach the witness to lie, make up facts, or intentionally mislead the court. Unfortunately, rehearsing is an area of preparation often

minor named Joey should be tried as an adult. The expert is a social worker who fundamentally disagrees with the practice of trying minors as adults. She could respond, “No, I do not support trying Joey as an adult. First, as a social worker, I do not support this practice in general because of the research on the negative effects on minors who are treated as adults within the court system [and cite specific research]. Second, in this particular case, Joey is already highly vulnerable, given his

rather than requiring new testimony about gay and lesbian parenting at each adoption hearing—unless another party with standing in the case raises an objection. 9Psychiatry is still often treated as the mental health profession with the highest status. Some tribunals defer to the opinions of psychiatrists. This may be particularly discouraging to a clinician who has more specialized experience or greater research support than the psychiatrist. Exper t Witnesses   177 the court is assured

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