<< Back to Expert Witness page
As published in The Los Angeles County Bar Association Southern California Directory of Experts and Consultants:
A Psych Tale
By Carole Lieberman, MD,MPH
Once upon a time, there was a shark…I mean a lawyer…who loved to chew up the opposition. One day, he stopped in mid-chew and asked himself, “Why?” Was it to make his client happy? To make a lot of money? To make sure justice was upheld? Yes, it was all of these, but he couldn’t help feeling there was more.
Gradually, vague childhood memories began to surface from his unconscious mind. He remembered a parent who handed down unfair rules and punishments, a sibling who got their way more often than he did and a bully who kicked sand in his face. Suddenly, it all made sense.
The long hours, the tedious research, the delays and inconveniences were all worth it when you got to right not only a current wrong, but to right one from the past. Indeed, each win in the courtroom brought a deeper psychological satisfaction. It meant, “Listen up,” mommy, daddy, brother, sister, bully, “Finally, I’ve won!”
Gotcha! This case history hits home, doesn’t it? It has been brought to you by a psychiatrist, in an effort to demonstrate (not only how obnoxious a psychiatrist can be), but how right on. Now you’ve experienced first-hand how, by revealing the underpinnings of a case, you can psych out the opposition each time.
If you want to uncover a malingerer, or humanize your client so they’re more sympathetic, or persuade the jury to identify with your point of view – consult a psychiatrist.
For example, in a recent case, my findings revealed that a woman alleging sexual harassment was actually unconsciously projecting blame on her boss for the sexual abuse she’d suffered as a child. In a highly publicized murder case, I uncovered a parallel between the defendant’s father and the deceased, which validated his diminished capacity defense.
To do a winning job, a psychiatrist needs to conduct a thorough IME of at least one party, a comprehensive review of records and impeccably detailed preparations for deposition and trial. With the proper tools, a psychiatrist can help you right the wrongs of the past and present!