Forensic Practice Information
- Category: Uncategorised
- Published: Saturday, 29 August 2020 03:24
- Written by Super User
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Here is a general overview of my Forensic services, including information about my education and experience, appointment procedures, fees and fee policy, and retainer requirements. More detailed information about my education and experience can be found by reviewing the information. Detailed information about specific forensic services is listed un Family, Civil and Criminal Court Matters on the sidebar menu.
I have a Ph.D. from Fordham University, a Master's degree from Seton Hall University, and a Bachelor's degree from Bucknell University. The Education link provides a more detailed description of each of these degree programs, as well as describing my postgraduate training related to Forensic Psychology.
Between 1974 and 1987, I worked in public mental health, in hospitals, family counseling agencies, substance abuse programs, and community mental health clinics. My last position before entering full time private practice was as Clinical Director of a mental health clinic.
Since 1987, I have been in private practice as a licensed psychologist in New Jersey. My practice is currently divided between clinical work, such as psychotherapy and family therapy, and forensic work, including evaluations, testing and court testimony in a number of areas. Rather than focusing on developing a forensic practice, my forensic work developed out of my clinical experience.
For example, my therapeutic experience with children, parents and families led to forensic work evaluating child abuse, domestic violence, child custody and other family court matters. My clinical experience treating individuals with traumatic injuries, and my training background in rehabilitation psychology, led to forensic litigation evaluations (for both plaintiff and defense). And, my extensive diagnostic experience with a broad range of clinical clients in both mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, as well as my treatment experience with a broad range of clients, including clients with criminal histories, led to forensic evaluations for juvenile court, criminal proceedings, and family court, in cases where psychological diagnosis, the relationship between diagnosis and family, civil or criminal matters, and treatment recommendations and potential for rehabilitation were relevant. Follow the experience link for a more detailed presentation of my experience.
Fees and Fee Policy
Currently, my fees for forensic consultation are based on an hourly rate of $300.00 for evaluations and testing, and $350.00 for court testimony and depositions. All work related to a case is billable, including, but not limited to, diagnostic evaluations, administration, scoring and interpretation of psychological tests, consultations with attorneys and/or other individuals who have information relevant to a case (for example, teachers in child custody evaluations), the review of records, discovery, or other evaluations, preparation and record review prior to a deposition or court testimony, depositions and/or testimony, and travel time to offsite locations, such as court, attorney offices, correctional facilities, schools, or home visits.
Clients and attorneys acknowledge that payment of fees is for the professional services provided, and, as a psychologist, I do not work on a contingency basis. There are times when my evaluation may not be helpful to a client, and the client and his/her attorney will need to decide how, or if, to use my evaluation.
In most cases, a retainer is requested prior to beginning a forensic evaluation, and the balance is typically paid in full prior to release of the report. There are some exceptions made to this policy on a case by case basis, depending on who is responsible for payment. (For example, if a state agency is responsible for payment, then the evaluation can proceed with written approval for the estimated cost of the evaluation.) Any unused portion of the retainer will be returned at the conclusion of the case. For the convenience of clients who wish to, or need to, make payments over a period of time, the retainer and/or all fees can be paid by credit card. The amount of the retainer will depend on the nature of the case, but will be at least half of the estimated total, or the full estimated total for evaluations expected to be completed within a short time (such as pre-sentence evaluations).
Procedures for setting up an initial appointment will vary according to the nature of the case.
- If a court order authorizes the evaluation (such as child custody cases) then a copy of the order should be forwarded to me prior to the initial appointment. The purpose, or goal, of the evaluation should be stated in the order. It is helpful if the order specifies any time frames requested by the court for completion of the report. The order should also require the cooperation of the parties to be evaluated. When a court order is issued for a psychological evaluation, the client and/or his/her attorney should contact me immediately to confirm that I have received the order, and to schedule an initial appointment. The court rarely sends a copy of the order to an expert. It is the responsibility of the parties to contact the expert.
- In family court cases where two opposing attorneys or clients have agreed to an evaluation, without an order, then either a consent agreement, signed by the parties, or a letter from each attorney, indicating agreement to cooperate with the evaluation, is recommended. Once an agreement is reached, the parties or their attorneys should contact me to schedule their appointments.
- If the individual to be evaluated is incarcerated, the attorney should contact me to discuss the issues of the case, and determine whether I can complete the evaluation. The attorney should then forward a letter to the jail authorizing the evaluation of their client, and fax a copy of the letter to my office. The attorney should also provide me with a contact person at the institution (including a telephone number), so I can arrange a time for the evaluation. In some cases, a court order is required to evaluate an incarcerated individual, depending on the institution. If so, the court order should allow multiple visits if needed, privacy, sufficient access (time) to complete the evaluation, permission to bring testing materials (and other assessment tools) into the institution, and an adequate place to do the evaluation.
- If the person to be evaluated is a minor, a parent or guardian must accompany him/her to my office to sign a release, unless the juvenile is incarcerated. In any event, a signed release from the juvenile's guardian, or a letter from his/her attorney empowering me to complete the evaluation, must precede the release of the report.
- If the person to be evaluated is an opposing party in a civil suit, appointments are usually scheduled through the party's attorney. I can provide you with an appointment time, by telephone, to covey to the opposing attorney by letter. In such cases, it is important that I receive all the records needed for the evaluation in advance of the appointment date.
- In other cases, when an attorney is requesting an evaluation of a client, the client can simply call for an appointment. But, it is usually better if the attorney either calls or sends a letter first, clarifying the purpose of the evaluation, as clients sometimes present misinformation regarding the evaluation. This can lead to the need for additional appointments, which is a financial burden to the client.
- Any questions about appointments or scheduling can be addressed by telephone. Please call the office most convenient for you. However, all correspondence should be sent to:
Donald J. Franklin, Ph.D.
70 Church Street, Suite 112
Flemington, NJ 08822