(Received 11 September 1987; accepted 13 November 1987)
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In virtually all situations involving forensic psychiatric assessments, the patient is represented by counsel. But does this fact entitle the lawyer to be present at the clinical evaluation? In a series of New York cases spanning a generation, judges have allowed presence of counsel at the psychiatric examination. The most common reason given for such a conclusion is to assure better cross-examination of the expert witness. Psychiatric evaluations mandated by law necessitate several guidelines different from those of the usual doctor/patient relationship. While we may have to accept the presence of attorneys in our consulting rooms, they should be observers only. To allow active intervention would distort the clinical process.
Chief, Program in Psychiatry and Law, chief, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, NY
Chairman, Nassau County Medical Center, East Meadow, NY
Stock #: JFS12523J