Clinicians in Court

Second Edition
A Guide to Subpoenas, Depositions, Testifying, and Everything Else You Need to Know

Allan E. Barsky

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
March 12, 2012
ISBN 9781462503551
Price: $85.00 $63.75
333 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
October 1, 2013
ISBN 9781462513109
Price: $35.00 $26.25
333 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
March 19, 2012
ePub ?
Price: $35.00 $26.25
333 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $70.00 $38.50
333 Pages

Interacting with the legal system can be stressful and intimidating for mental health professionals. This trusted book provides user-friendly strategies to help clinicians prepare for testimony in court and other legal proceedings. Using vivid case scenarios, the author explains legal terms and offers practical suggestions for avoiding pitfalls and managing ethical dilemmas. Clear guidelines are presented for record keeping, responding to subpoenas, preparing reports, and performing effectively on the stand as a fact witness or expert witness. Reproducible agreements and other sample documentation can be photocopied from the appendices or downloaded and printed in a convenient 8½" x 11" size.

New to This Edition

“Extremely user friendly....[Demystifies] what otherwise constitutes for many professionals a rather dreaded experience. Highly recommended.”

American Journal of Orthopsychiatry

“An excellent guide for nonforensic clinicians....Reading Clinicians in Court is like attending a good workshop.”

Psychiatric Services

“Provides useful information for a clinician on such important issues as confidentiality and the legal aspects of disclosure....I found this book very useful to my continuing practice.”

Criminal Justice Review

“The chapters are thoughtfully presented....The content is accessible to the lay reader....Barsky's work here is practical, organized, and well-focused on particular concerns of clinicians. The book should help prepare active professional clinicians and students for their interactions with the legal system. Students should want to maintain this book on their professional reference shelf.”

The New Social Worker

“This fully revised and well-polished second edition offers both seasoned clinicians and students an outstanding resource with which to prepare for any type of encounter with the legal system. Concise and well written, the book will be a welcome addition to any clinician's library. It is certainly at the top of my list for required classroom reading.”

—Frank M. Dattilio, PhD, ABPP, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

“Barsky has provided an important resource for practice with the second edition of this important guide. Written in a highly readable and informative style, the book succeeds in stripping away some of the discomfort mental health clinicians have about participating in legal proceedings. It explains the purpose and function of the legal system and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of clinicians as witnesses and resources for legal decision makers. The use of case scenarios enables clinicians to apply legal principles to the real world of practice.”

—Robert G. Madden, LCSW, JD, Department of Social Work, Saint Joseph College

Clinicians in Court, Second Edition, offers an updated resource for treatment providers who are called into the legal arena. The volume helps to clarify roles, responsibilities, and regulations and offers readers a foundation for developing policies and procedures of their own. The material is woven together using the example of a family engaged in the legal system, exploring the roles of the evaluators and treatment providers intertwined in the process. Practical and challenging, the scenarios encourage reflection and offer opportunities to prepare for unfamiliar legal territory.”

—Andrea Stolar, MD, Director of Forensic Psychiatry, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine

Table of Contents


1. Introduction

2. Beginning with Yourself

3. First Contact

4. Preparation for Legal Proceedings

5. Oral Testimony at Trial

6. Clinical Records

7. Expert Witnesses

8. Documentary Evidence, with Diane Green

9. Claims against Clinicians

10. Alternatives and Precursors to Adjudication

11. Conclusion




A. Service Agreement for an Expert Witness for Review/Rebuttal Services

B. Fee Arrangement for an Expert Witness Who Is Called to Testify

C. Statement of Understanding to Participate in a Forensic Psychological Evaluation

D. Initial Letter to Attorneys after Evaluator Received an Appointment Order

E. Sample Affidavit

F. Motion to Quash Subpoena

G. For Further Reflection


Websites for Legal Research

Forensic Journals

Professional Associations with Interest in Forensic Practice

About the Author

Allan E. Barsky, JD, MSW, PhD, is Professor of Social Work at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches graduate courses on professional ethics, conflict resolution, social work practice skills, and substance abuse. Dr. Barsky has practiced social work and mediation in settings that include the criminal court in New York and the family courts in New York, Toronto, and Fort Lauderdale. Widely published, Dr. Barsky has served as chair of the National Ethics Committee of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and is a past president of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. He has been recognized by the NASW with the Excellence in Ethics Award, by Florida Atlantic University as Creative Scholar of the Year, and by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts with the Meyer Elkin Best Article in Family Law Award.


Clinical psychologists, social workers, family therapists and counselors, psychiatrists, and child welfare professionals; also of interest to forensic psychologists and psychiatrists.

Course Use

This text may be used for courses dealing with clinical practice and family law, mental health law, criminal law, or the justice system in general. The author's website offers course suggestions and an online instructor’s manual.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

First Edition, © 2002
ISBN: 9781593850166
New to this edition: