Law and Psychiatry Fellowship Program

Didactics

The fellowship includes a robust didactic curriculum, offering approximately 8 hours per week of formal didactic education. Seminars are spaced throughout the week and are held at Connecticut Mental Health Center and Connecticut Valley Hospital. The courses include:

Law and Psychiatry Case Conference (Fridays, 8:30-10 am, all year)

  • In this seminar, the entire Law and Psychiatry faculty gathers together with the fellows to discuss a forensic evaluation. Each week, a fellow or faculty presents a case that is in progress, gathering feedback from the group.

Court Clinic Case Conference (Tuesdays, 3-4 pm, all year)

  • Every Tuesday, a fellow participates in team competence to stand trial evaluations together with a psychologist and social worker. In the case conference, fellows present the cases seen by the team and discuss their findings.

Landmark Cases Seminar (Tuesdays, 5-6:30 pm, 32 weeks from August to May)

  • This course is co-taught by a judge and forensic psychiatrist. Each week, fellows read 2-4 landmark decisions related to law and psychiatry, discussing the salient aspects for forensic psychiatry practice.

Seminar for Scholarship in Forensic Psychiatry (Fridays, 1-2:30 pm, all year)

  • In this course, fellows learn about the theoretical foundations of current forensic practice and evolving areas of research and scholarship in the field. Content areas include criminal law, civil law, report writing and testimony, and many others.

Public Sector Forensic Psychiatry (Thursdays, 9-11 am, July to March)

  • This course focuses on topics related to public sector forensic psychiatry, such as the organization of mental health systems, management of insanity acquittees, psychotherapy in forensic treatment settings, and juvenile justice systems. Guest lecturers are invited to teach about areas in which they are expert.

PGY-2 Course: Legal Regulation of Psychiatric Practice and Forensic Psychiatry (Tuesdays, 10 am to 12 pm, March to June)

  • This course focuses on teaching PGY-2 psychiatry residents the basics of law and psychiatry, including the legal regulation of psychiatric practice and beginner-level forensic psychiatry. Fellows attend the class and help residents read and comprehend legal cases.

Journal Club (every other Wednesday, 4-5:30 pm, October to May)

  • In this class, fellows read recent legal decisions related to psychiatric practice and forensic psychiatry. Discussions are led by an attorney and forensic psychiatrist.

The Mock Trial (two Fridays in December)

  • Each fellow testifies in a mock trial that is conducted by a real judge and experienced attorneys. The exercise is observed by Law & Psychiatry faculty members, who provide immediate feedback. In addition, the testimony is video-recorded, and fellows are given a DVD of their testimony to review in supervision.