Tips for Mental Health Professionals Facing Subpoenas

July 17th, 2019

Most therapists and other mental health professionals will have to deal with subpoenas at some point in their careers. The first thing they feel is usually anxiety, fear of what’s to come. Additionally, the pressure of the legal system comes down on them and sometimes provokes an immediate response. Either they totally ignore the subpoena, or they immediately comply and offer up documents or testimony. Unfortunately, mental health professionals who act hastily expose themselves to legal trouble. Therefore, the first thing they should do is find the best LMFT attorney New Jersey has to offer. The attorney can walk clients through the appropriate response. They can also explain the implications of each course of action. Here are some useful tips that mental health professionals can use when facing subpoenas.

  1. Client Authorizations to Release Information

Any request to release information needs to be accompanied by a signed authorization to release that information. Therefore, if a subpoena comes from someone’s attorney, mental health professionals should always consult directly with their patient on the request. If the client approves, they should sign an authorization for release. Therefore, even though some places treat attorney requests as if they came from the client, the best course of action is to erase all uncertainty. However, check with the client so you know it’s approved. An LMFT attorney in a New Jersey practice can help professionals understand what’s needed for legal release.

2. Always Give Some Response to a Subpoena

Even if a mental health professional is uncertain about what response is best, they should still respond. They can do so by simply noting they’ve received the subpoena and are reviewing it with an LMFT attorney New Jersey office. Additional time can be requested, or professionals can claim client privilege as a reason for not immediately supplying the requested information.

3. Filing a Motion to Dismiss the Subpoena

One response an attorney can help mental health professionals with is an attempt to quash the subpoena. “Quashing” means that, based on client privilege, the court should respect their right to privacy. Essentially, any information the mental health professional has cannot be accessed because it protects a victim of a crime, or some other privileged information. The court will then decide if the reason is valid enough to retract the subpoena.

For the best LMFT attorney New Jersey has, look to Bowne-Barry & Barry. Our firm specializes in helping mental health professionals practice without fear of litigation or threats to licenses. Additionally, we can help give you peace of mind so you can keep treating your clients and make a difference. Contact us today to speak about how we can help you if you’re facing a subpoena.