Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal


Carol M. Suzuki


This article explores the important role that lawyers are afforded in evaluating the mental health concerns of clients. The article advocates that, where a lawyer has concerns about the mental, cognitive, or emotional health of a client, the lawyer should counsel the client to consider seeking appropriate mental health treatment. While acknowledging that counseling a client to seek mental health treatment is not an intuitive aspect of providing legal services, the article argues that humanitarian concerns, as well as the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility allow, and in some situations perhaps require, a lawyer to consider providing such a referral. The article continues with a discussion of how mental health evaluation and treatment affect legal representation; how race, culture, and ethnicity affect mental health services; and the concerns that clients may face in paying for mental health services. The article concludes with advice for lawyers on how to broach the topic of mental health services, taking into consideration all relevant factors.

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