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While the vast majority of criminal and civil lawyers must at some time come into contact with a forensic mental health evaluation, either when requested by their side or by opposing counsel, most do not know enough about the practice to be informed consumers. Forensic assessments can vary widely based on the assessor's personal preferences, and while there are clearly defined "best practices" for most evaluations, there is no official process by which legal professionals can guarantee these practices are being followed.
Designed to meet the specific needs of lawyers, Forensic Assessments in Criminal and Civil Law: A Handbook for Lawyers provides insight into what to expect from forensic mental health evaluations and how to navigate these assessments with skill and competence. The volume is divided into sections by evaluation type: criminal, civil, and juvenile and family evaluations. Each chapter addresses one of the most commonly requested forensic evaluations and is written by a forensic psychologist with both academic and professional experience with that type of evaluation. Specific evaluation types discussed include competence to stand trial in adults and juveniles, criminal responsibility, violence risk in adults, jury selection, eyewitness identification, personal injury claims, civil commitment, workplace disability, child custody, juveniles' risks and needs, and more. This handbook is a comprehensive, one-stop resource for lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals seeking to further their knowledge of forensic assessments.