Law and Psychiatry Fellowship Program

Scholarship and Other Experience

Seminar for Scholarship in Forensic Psychiatry

The purpose of the seminar is to focus on scholarship in forensic psychiatry, providing the members the opportunity to participate in reviews of forensic literature and preparations of scholarly works. Fellows are required to publish a case review in the Legal Digest section of the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law. The Scholarship Seminar focuses on scholarship and selected forensic topics with a mock trial experience. Over the course of the year topics may include:

  • Criminal Law
  • Civil Law
  • Courtroom Performance
  • Forensic Research
  • Career Planning
  • Ethics

Other Coursework/Seminars are a part of a forensic trainee’s weekly schedule, including a review of Landmark Cases, a review of important legal cases impacting mental health; the Law and Psychiatry Elective, a selection of relevant and timely topics; and the Competency to Stand Trial Clinic. One of the most popular weekly classes is the Friday Law & Psychiatry Seminar where forensic trainees, students, and faculty gather to present and discuss cases that are currently being evaluated.

The American Academy of Psychiatry and Law Annual Conference

Each year the L&P division funds the forensic trainees’ attendance at the annual AAPL conference and Board Review Course. Trainees are encouraged to prepare submissions for the AAPL Annual Meeting to occur shortly after completion of the training year.

Yale Law School and the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization

Yale Law School is an accredited, highly ranked law school that graduates 175-180 lawyers per year. The law school offers a clinical program, Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, which houses a variety of clinics where a variety of law students, under supervision represent clients. There is an immigration clinic that represents individuals seeking asylum, a prison clinic that representing inmates in state and federal prisons and a criminal clinics representing individuals charged with crimes. Yale Law School is located approximately 10 blocks from the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Forensic trainees spend one 1/2 day per week in this year-long required rotation. In this rotation, trainees attend classes and participate in clinic.

In class, the forensic trainees receive didactics from the law faculty named above and Howard Zonana, MD. In clinic, the forensic trainees consult on immigration, prison, and criminal defendant cases presented by law students and perform evaluations when appropriate.

The Immigration Clinic sees a variety of clients with mental disorders, including PTSD and mood disorders, and other special needs related to cultural and psychological factors that relate to legal issues. The prison seminar deals with habeas corpus matters for CT inmates. Forensic trainees also participate in mock trials at the Law School twice a year.

Law students in these programs have the opportunity to take full professional responsibility, under faculty supervision, for clients who cannot afford legal assistance. During the past several years, the LSO has developed ongoing programs serving inmates in state and federal correctional facilities. A child advocacy program has been funded, and the LSO also represents children and parents in a variety of civil and criminal situations. The clinic has several other divisions including Poverty, Prison and Housing programs. Several cases in which our trainees have provided consultation have been argued before the Connecticut Supreme Court and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Primary supervisors at the law school are Howard Zonana MD and Stephen Wizner JD, Carroll Lucht JD, Jean Koh Peters JD, Judith Resnick JD and Michael Wishnie JD. Finally, forensic trainees may elect to participate in the Poverty, Homelessness and Juvenile Clinics as psychiatric consultants.