Attorneys find it useful to consult about certain cases. In some instances, an attorney may find it most productive to use a non-testifying consultant (IL S. Ct. Rule 201(b)(3)) who works behind the scenes as part of the usually confidential legal team. At other times, an attorney may prefer a controlled expert witness who testifies (IL S. Ct. Rule 213(f)(3)). In many cases, the consultation is a Work Product Review of an evaluation completed by another individual. Those consultations involve examination of evaluation reports, and at times, the underlying information collected by the evaluator. There are multiple areas of focus for these consultations, including:
- Procedures used, including psychological testing
- How the evaluator appeared to cognitively process information that was collected
- How well the report’s conclusions and recommendations logically follow from the information that was collected
- Consideration of relevant legal criteria and scientific evidence
- Adherence to professional ethics, standards, and guidelines
- To what extent does the evaluator fail to distinguish between information collected and the inferences that were drawn?
- How clear are the evaluator’s descriptions of methods and reasoning?
- How much are the evaluator’s methods and judgment generally accepted by experts in the field?
- Is the gap in reasoning too large between the evaluator’s collected information and conclusions?
- Based on a review of the available information, in some cases, it is possible to develop alternative parenting plan options for consideration by the parents, attorneys, and the court.
Parents, too, may wish to consult directly to obtain an objective professional perspective on parenting plan options. Consultations with parents strongly consider the reality of the family member’s lives, integrated with considerations drawn from scientific evidence and professional practice as an evaluator and therapist.
Because my decades of work have focused extensively on integrating scientific evidence and practical experience with steps to facilitate productive deliberation about the evaluative information, I am especially well qualified to carry out such consultations. All my consultations are carried out with the goal of clarifying what is in children’s best interest.