Lawyers, want to work smarter and win more cases?
Lawyers are often pressed for time, and time is money. Many clients have psychological issues that lawyers are not trained to handle. Briefly, psychologists can do the following to ease that burden:
Consult with you about cases
Evaluate clients to determine mitigating factors to help during sentencing
Coach clients on courtroom etiquette and while testifying
Determine if clients are competent, legally sane, their potential for violence….
Aid in jury selection
Psychologists can perform many functions from therapy to consulting to psychological testing. In Florida, to be labeled a psychologist, one must be licensed at the doctoral level. If you see a Ph.D., LMHC, they are licensed at the Master’s level. What is important in this distinction, is that psychologists can perform psychological testing, and give test batteries that only psychologists can do. However; psychologists can do more than that. Forensic psychologists have been working with the legal system for quite some time, but they are still underutilized. Psychologists can testify as fact witnesses and expert witnesses. They can also evaluate a client to determine if they are competent, legally sane, stable, violent, their potential risk for all types of offenses, any emotional distress from accidents, parental fitness, diagnosis and on and on. But wait, there is more.
Psychologists are experts in human behavior. Psychologists can often learn more from behavioral observations than full blown psychological testing. Psychologists can consult with attorneys to help them better defend their clients. For instance, there are often mitigating factors that can help the client get a reduced sentence or none at all. Or the client might be a psychopath or have a borderline personality, both of which get no sympathy from the court or juries, and it might be best to take the plea deal. Psychologists can also assist with jury selection. They can help detect if someone is malingering. They can also help prepare clients for court, albeit a hearing or a trial. If you are a litigator, wouldn’t you want your client to portray themselves in the best light possible? Attorneys do not have time to coach their clients to behave or what to say if they testify, but working with a psychologist can ease that work load.
So how does this save me time and help me better help my clients Dr. Umfer? You simply refer them to a competent psychologist. The client pays the psychologist, unless another arrangement is made. Essentially, you give the client the psychologist’s contact information, and email or call the Doctor and supply any collateral information that is warranted informing them of what is needed. Psychologists will inform you if what you need is within their scope of practice. How easy is that? You are right to be saying to yourself, “why haven’t I done this before or more often?” Yes lawyers are good at reading people, but there is added credibility when bringing in a specialist. Consulting psychologists can also provide insight into psychological treatment and evaluations from the prosecution side. Psychologists have much to offer attorneys to better serve their clients. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-385-7974 with questions and for referrals.