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What We Do

The expertise of the Law and Psychiatry Service (LPS) includes both criminal matters, such as competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility, and civil matters, such as emotional distress damages, disability, malpractice, sexual harassment and testamentary capacity. We also provide consultation on workplace mental health issues, including assessments of fitness for duty, reasonable accommodations and suitability for job functions.

Who We Serve

The LPS provides comprehensive consultation and litigation support services to attorneys, the courts, government agencies, corporations and other organizations that confront issues at the intersection of the legal system and mental health professions. As part of a world-renowned medical center, the LPS has the resources to provide state-of-the art evaluations and diagnostic procedures, including psychological and neuropsychological testing.

The LPS accepts litigation-related consultation requests from attorneys, insurers, employers, public agencies and organizations of all types. We also are available to consult with individuals and family members regarding mental health issues related to employment and other matters. Our staff members serve as expert witnesses only through consultation to licensed attorneys.

The LPS was established in 1989 and is dedicated to the memory of Thomas P. Hackett, MD, the late Eben S. Draper Professor of Psychiatry, who inspired its formation.

Areas of Expertise

The experienced clinicians in the Law and Psychiatry Service at Mass General are available for consultation, litigation support and expert testimony on a wide range of matters at the intersection of law and mental health. The lists below outline the services we provide.


  • Allegations of professional negligence
  • Americans with Disabilities Act and Ch. 151B
  • Assessment of emotional damages in personal injury matters
  • Civil commitment
  • Competency to make treatment decisions
  • Disability insurance evaluations and litigation
  • Duty to protect third parties
  • Guardianship and conservatorship, including treatment refusal
  • Guardians ad litem (adult)
  • Informed consent to treatment
  • Psychological injury in toxic tort and industrial accident cases
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual misconduct by clinicians and other professionals
  • Risk management for clinicians
  • Testamentary capacity and undue influence
  • Violence risk assessment
  • Sexual dangerous person (SDP) and Sexual violent predator (SVP) evaluations
  • Sexual offender/sexual violence risk assessments


  • Competency to stand trial and competency to waive rights
  • Correctional mental health
  • Criminal responsibility and diminished capacity
  • Domestic violence and battered women’s syndrome
  • Extortion and blackmail
  • Other Non-litigation Consultation Services
  • Assessment of allegedly disruptive physicians and other professionals
  • Consultation to law enforcement and security agencies, including screening for job suitability
  • Development of workplace violence policies
  • Fitness for duty evaluations
  • Investigation of allegations of sexual harassment
  • Threat assessments in employment settings
  • Violence in the workplace assessments and interventions

Professional Training

The Law and Psychiatry Service hosts the Harvard Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship. This fellowship is a one-year, full-time, ACGME-approved training program based at Mass General. The fellowship is designed to provide comprehensive training in forensic psychiatry, drawing on multiple clinical sites, a large, multidisciplinary teaching faculty and a vast array of academic opportunities within the Harvard system.