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Clinical Services for Legal Matters

Sometimes people find themselves involved in a legal matter or hearing.  Clinical services for legal or so-called forensic matters involve assessments and reports that are objective, evidence-based, and dispassionate, prepared in a manner intended to assist a court or tribunal. Findings may be favorable or unfavorable to the subject of the report.  Preparation of a clinical report for a legal matter is a multi-faceted process, which typically includes:

  • Preliminary discussion with referring lawyer; consideration & clarification of letter of instruction
  • Examination of the person(s) concerned, which ordinarily requires multiple interviews
  • Elicitation of a comprehensive personal history by way of: person’s completion of questionnaire, review of pertinent historical reports, key informants, oral interview
  • Discussions with family, relatives, or other parties where appropriate
  • Administration and interpretation of selected personality inventories or other questionnaires
  • Mental status examination
  • Development of clinical formulation and DSM-5 / ICD-10 CM diagnosis
  • Consideration and review of all documents provided
  • Relevant research activities
  • Reflection upon and synthesis of information gathered
  • Writing and finalisation of report with particular emphasis on relevant questions

Additionally, there may be further information or documents that come to light requiring review, attendance required at expert conferences, conferences with referring lawyer and other counsel, or attendance required to give evidence at a court or tribunal.

Clinical work for legal matters is undertaken in the order of referrals but from time to time assessment and reports are presented with urgency.  Such urgent work is only undertaken on the basis of special request and mutual agreement.  Clinical services for legal matters are provided in accordance with a fee schedule different than other clinical services.  When you need clinical services for a legal matter, please discuss this with Dr Zuessman to determine what approach can be taken.