LIVE: Ethical Dilemmas: Best Practices for Forensic Witnesses Working with an Attorney

August 22, 2023  |  9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Pacific

Presented By Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD | Michael Perlin, JD
Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD Michael Perlin, JD

August 22, 2023
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Pacific

1.5 Hours

Michael Perlin, JD, and Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD present a live professional training program on Ethical Dilemmas: Best Practices for Forensic Witnesses Working with an Attorney in partnership with the Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates.

This program will introduce participants to the sometimes-difficult relationship between an expert witness and a defense attorney. It will highlight the major ethical and constitutional dilemmas that could arise while working together on a criminal or quasi-criminal case.

The program will identify the distinct ethical boundaries that both attorney and clinician must abide by and offer best practices on how to protect professional integrity.

This program is intended for professionals of all stages in their careers, including expert witnesses focused on risk assessment, treatment providers, social workers, and forensic psychologists.

Program Outline

  • Introduction to sex offender civil commitment statutes and the role of the expert
  • Understanding the conflict between the role of the attorney vs. the role of the expert
  • What might be expected of the expert witness and what SHOULD be expected of the expert witness
  • Understanding the legal role of treatment vs the clinical role of treatment in courtroom settings
  • The basics of ethical practice for both professions
  • How to protect professional integrity when faced with attorney pressure and recommendations for best practices

Intended Audience

This live program is intended for mental health and other allied professionals.

Experience Level

This live program is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

CE / CPD Credit

APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC: Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

Presented By

Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD

Heather Ellis Cucolo is an adjunct professor in New York Law School’s online mental disability law program, has served as Acting Director of that program, and has contributed to the development of courses within the program as well as assisted in collaboration with Asia-Pacific partners to fost...

Presented By

Michael Perlin, JD

Michael L. Perlin is Professor of Law Emeritus at New York Law School (NYLS), founding director of NYLS’s Online Mental Disability Law Program, and founding director of NYLS’s International Mental Disability Law Reform Project in its Justice Action Center. He is also the co-founder of Mental Di...

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program you will be able to:

Describe the imperfect fit between questions of law and questions of clinical diagnosis, including how statutory language can distort the role of the expert, using the example of sex offender civil commitment laws

Describe how mental evaluation reports are used at trial and the applicable Supreme Court case law that has shaped this area

Describe the various “relationship stressors” that arise during clinician/ attorney interaction and best practices for reducing harm

Describe how to effectively navigate and enhance the attorney/clinician relationship through each of the main stages of a defendant’s case


Live Event Policy

Event Communications

Event Communications

All program information will be available on your dashboard after registration. When registering, use an email that is active and that you check regularly. We are not responsible for communications not being received; if you do not add to your email safe sender list, our emails are likely to end up in your spam or junk folders.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

Have a sudden change of plans and are unable to attend live? No worries, you will be given access to the on-demand version of the program once available.

Event Conduct

Event Conduct

Please conduct yourself in a professional manner throughout the event. Our goal is to make this as interactive an experience as possible for all who attend. We reserve the right to remove any participants who are disruptive or who act unprofessionally.

Develop a Specialty Area of Practice

Transforming mental health professionals into experts

Expert Instructors

Professional training developed and delivered by the field's leading experts

CE Credit

Earn CE credit for meaningful professional training that will elevate your practice

Convenience & Flexibility

Learn at your own pace, from wherever you might be!

Program Partner

Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates (MDLPA)

We are proud to partner with Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates, LLC for this training. MDLPA is a boutique educational training company that offers specialized mental disability law consulting, the creation or enhancement of distance learning programs, in-house or online courses, and day or weekend training seminars to reputable organizations, educational institutions, professional groups, and advocacy groups focused on providing advanced knowledge and skills to persons working with marginalized populations.

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