27 Trial Consultation

Forensic Psychology


  1. Eric Y. Drogin JD, PhD, ABPP1,
  2. Curtis L. Barrett PhD, ABPP2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop211027

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Drogin, E. Y. and Barrett, C. L. 2012. Trial Consultation. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 11:V:27.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

  2. 2

    University of Louisville, School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


Trial consultation enables forensic psychologists to expand beyond traditional assessment and testimony roles in order to provide direct support to counsel in civil and criminal proceedings. Such support can include case analysis, report review, witness identification, witness preparation, and enhancement of direct and cross-examination strategies. Recent statutory and case law innovations have encouraged lawyers to make increasingly sophisticated use of trial consultation, even as economic conditions have inspired caution regarding the overall cost of these services. Various sources of professional guidance have emerged to promote responsible practices and identify potential pitfalls in this complex and dynamic activity. Attempts to serve simultaneously as both consultant and witness—or to migrate from the first role to the second in the course of the same legal matter—raise ethical concerns due to the incompatibility of the consultant's advocacy support function with the scrupulous avoidance of bias required of the witness. Trial consultation requires more than identifying scoring errors, superseded test measures, and poorly drafted reports. Merely undermining the credibility and impugning the integrity of opposing counsel's expert is an incomplete application of consultation skills. Much can be done to educate counsel about proper approaches and positive solutions to questions raised by preceding evaluations.


  • ethics;
  • expert witness;
  • forensic;
  • jurisprudent science;
  • trial consultation