Law and Psychiatry Fellowship Program

Overall Goals

The fellowship program uses clinical, didactic, and scholarly experiences to educate trainees about three major topic areas:

  • The use of psychiatric expertise to aid in the resolution of legal issues;
  • The treatment of patients in forensic treatment settings, including maximum-security hospitals, correctional institutions, and community programs; and
  • The legal regulation of psychiatric practice.

The goal of the program is not to transform psychiatrists into legal experts, but rather to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate effective communication between psychiatric and legal audiences.

Core Values

Care of Patients and Forensic Evaluees -- Fellows will learn to perform thorough, objective, and accurate forensic evaluations, and to provide appropriate, effective, and compassionate clinical care in forensic treatment settings.

Medical and Legal Knowledge -- Fellows will become knowledgeable regarding psychiatric evaluations in legal settings, current legal regulation of psychiatric practice, and the structure and function of court systems.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills -- Fellows will develop interpersonal and communication skills with patients, evaluees, collateral informants, health professionals, and court personnel that result in the effective exchange of information, both orally and in written reports.

Professionalism -- Fellows must demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, an adherence to ethics principles, and sensitivity to vulnerable populations.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement -- Fellows must demonstrate the ability to appraise their performance of forensic evaluations and patient care, acquire new scientific and legal data, and continuously improve their practice based on this evidence.

Systems-Based Practice -- Fellows will understand the needs of the legal system for psychiatric opinions in civil and criminal cases, as well as the system of care for psychiatric patients involved with the criminal justice system.

Innovation and Leadership -- Fellows must be active in improving the practice of forensic psychiatry and the dissemination of new knowledge.