The Champion

January-February 2013 , Page 40 

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When the Fine Print Matters

By John T. Philipsborn

Reviewing Mental Health Assessment And Testing-Related Literature and Test Manuals Is a Key to Effectively Preparing And Examining Mental Health Experts 


It has been an unfortunate truism of criminal defense practice that many lawyers will turn clients over to mental health professionals for assessment without making an inquiry into how the assessment will progress, what it will consist of, and the reasoning behind the assessment approach. There are notable exceptions to this hands-off approach, particularly among lawyers who have either developed an interest and expertise in mental health issues or in lawyers who, forced by the facts and circumstances of a given case, have had to immerse themselves in learning the specifics of the mental health assessments conducted in their case. Lawyers certainly have access to more information about mental health assessment processes today than they had 30 years ago — including materials that will help them distinguish accept

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