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How Lawyers View Psychiatric Experts


Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: November 2012 - Volume 18 - Issue 6 - p 444–447
doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000422743.72247.25
COLUMNS: Law and Psychiatry

Good lawyers look for integrity in their expert con- sultants and expert witnesses. They need truthful, accurate information to help them assess and frame cases, win or settle them favorably, and/or with- draw when the case has little merit. Experts should be well qualified to review, interpret, and eventual- ly testify credibly about their portions of the case. They should be able to work with lawyers in the lawyers’ own arenas (e.g., courts, hearings) and to convey their opinions to others, such as juries, clearly and without unnecessary distractions. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2012;18:444–447)

Dr. Reid is a clinical and forensic psychiatrist and a past presi- dent of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. His website, Psychiatry and Law Updates, is This column contains general information which should not be construed as applying to any specific patient, nor as any form of legal advice. The material in this series is expanded, with forms and examples, in his forthcoming book, Developing a Forensic Practice: Operations and Ethics for Experts. Mr. Simpson is a Dallas-Ft. Worth trial lawyer with national civil and criminal experience. He works regularly with psychiatrist and psycholo- gist expert witnesses.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.