Forensic psychologists & immigration law
1 Washington MCLE Credit (Law & Legal)
Immigration lawyers frequently need psychological evidence in support of waiver cases. But mental health professionals have importantly distinct areas of focus. This webinar will explain the role of forensic psychologists, who provide expert testimony and reports to guide legal decision making. We will discuss what you should expect in a high-quality report, and the evaluation and testing that should support the report’s analysis and conclusions. We will specifically discuss hardship evaluations of qualifying relatives, as used in I-601/601A waiver applications.
This webinar will address:
Understanding the role of the forensic psychologist.
- How is a forensic psychologist different from a “regular” psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker?
- What are the training qualifications of a forensic psychologist?
- What is the difference between a therapist’s letter of support and a forensic evaluation?
- What goes into creating a strong forensic evaluation?
- What are objective psychological testing instruments, why are they useful, and what instruments are typically used in forensic evaluations?
- Best practices for immigration attorneys working with forensic psychologists.
Psychological reports in I-601/601A waivers, VAWA applications, U-visa applications, Drug and Alcohol Abuse/Rehabilitation, Mental Health Inadmissibility
Who should attend?
- Immigration attorneys with practices involving hardship waivers, 42B cancellation, or other situations where mental health is at issue.
About the speaker
Dr. Julia McLawsen provides psychological evaluations that guide legal decision-makers. Her practice focuses on evaluations for immigration contexts, with special emphasis on I-601 extreme hardship waivers.
Dr. McLawsen earned her PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, one of the country’s most respected forensic psychology programs. Her doctoral dissertation examined how different states implement sex offender civil commitment laws. Her recent professional experience includes:
- Independent practice, focusing on forensic psychological evaluations in support of I-601/601A waivers, VAWA applications, U-visa applications, Drug and Alcohol Abuse/Rehabilitation issues, and ongoing research related to these topics.
- Pierce County Competency Panel. Dr. McLawsen is one of a handful of expert psychologists contracted by Pierce County to assess capacities relevant to criminal defendants’ competence to proceed to trial. She regularly evaluates criminal defendants at the Pierce County Jail and provides reports to Pierce County Superior and District Courts.
- Western State Hospital. Dr. McLawsen is a former forensic evaluator for one of Washington State’s two psychiatric hospitals. Her work focused on providing forensic psychology evaluations for use in civil commitment proceedings, competency hearings, and assessments related to mental state at the time of the offense (e.g., not guilty by reason of insanity, diminished capacity). Dr. McLawsen provided multiple evaluations to courts on a weekly basis and testified in scores of cases.
- Washington State Special Commitment Center. During this initial postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. McLawsen provided sexual violence risk evaluations for individuals detained on McNeil Island and in assorted secure transition facilities. Evaluations focused assessing future risk for sexual violence. This experience, along the scope of her doctoral dissertation, informs Dr. McLawsen’s assessment of subjects in Adam Walsh Act immigration matters.
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