Information for Legal Professionals

Attorneys are one of the most common professional referral sources to clinical neuropsychologists. A forensic neuropsychological examination involves the application of neuropsychological assessment methods to the evaluation of criminal or civil litigants. Assessment of collateral sources of information, response bias, malingering, and norm-based psychological testing are all essential components of the forensic clinical neuropsychological evaluation.

A neuropsychological consultation can be helpful to you by qualitatively and quantitatively assessing the following issues:

Criminal Law

Criminal Responsibility
False Confessions
Risk Assessment/ Future Dangerousness
Amnesia for the Offense
Underlying Personality for Abuse and Mitigation Questions
Mitigating Brain Damage
Mental Retardation
Corrections Housing

Civil Law

Effects of Toxic Exposure
Effects of Brain Injury
Emotional Injury
Competency in Testamentary and Financial Decisions
Competency to Wed
Competency to Refuse/Consent to Treatment

Employment Law

Discrimination/Harassment Litigation
ADA and Reasonable Accommodations
Workers Compensation

Family Law

Questions of Abuse and Neglect
Assessments of Special School Needs

Making the referral and preparing your client for the exam

Referrals are made as they are to any other health specialty. However, the integrity of the neuropsychological examination, because it deals with the patient’s mental, emotional, and behavioral state, requires certain additional preparations:

  1. Please give your client an accurate expectation of the length of the examination, which could last as long as a full day or a couple of half days.

  2. Your client should be instructed not drink alcoholic beverages, smoke or ingest marijuana, or take over-the-counter sleeping or allergy medications (decongestants or antihistamines) within 24 hours of the examination

  3. Psychoactive medications can affect the results of neuropsychological testing, particularly in high doses. To the extent possible, patients should refrain from taking the following within 48 hours of the appointment:
    • Narcotic analgesics (e.g., Vicodin, Darvocet, Percocet, Demerol)
    • Sleeping medications (e.g., Ambien, Restoril)
    • Anti-convulsants
    • Benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium, Xanax)
    • Mood stabilizers (e.g., lithium carbonate)
    • Antidepressants (e.g., tricyclic, conventional, or SSRI’s)
    • Anti-hypertensives (e.g., beta-blockers, thiazides).
    Have your client contact their physician who should make the determination as to whether any of these medications, if prescribed, may be reduced or withdrawn before the evaluation, and instruct your client accordingly.

  4. Your client should be instructed to bring a list of all medications they are taking with them and to indicate on it which, if any, they have taken in the prior 48 hours.

  5. Instruct your client to bring and use any assistive devices that have been prescribed or recommended to them such as these:
    • Eye glasses / contact lenses
    • Hearing aid
    • Neck brace
    • Lumbar pillow

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please click here to email

Special Conditions for a Forensic Neuropsychological Examination

  1. The presence of a significant other or advocate to accompany the client in order to provide a calming or reassuring effect is welcome, however this person may not be present in the examination room

  2. No observers are permitted in the examination room because they can be a source of distraction or coaching and undermine the standardization of the procedures; the only exception is when a client requires assistance due to a severe problems such as handicap, significant sensory/motor impairments or dementia.

  3. Videorecording or audiorecording of examinations are not allowed

Relevant Experience

You are entitled to know my background before referring your clients. Here are some relevant details about my training and experience:


Ph.D., Psychology (Clinical), University of Southern California, 1980
California Licensed Psychologist [PSY 7167], 1982-present
American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABPP), Diplomate 1986-present

Academic Positions

Director, Graduate Program in Counseling Psychology, 1992-1996
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
Professor of Psychology, 1987-present
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
Visiting Assistant Professor, 1981-1982
Department of Psychology, University of Southern California
(Taught Child Clinical Neuropsychology)

Professional Positions

Staff Psychologist/Neuropsychologist, 1982-1987
Department of Diagnostic & Rehabilitation Medicine
Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital, Inglewood, California
Staff Clinical Psychologist, 1980-1981
Division of Adolescent Medicine, Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles


Pediatric Psychology Intern, 1979-1980
National Institute of Mental Health Training Grant,
Division of Psychiatry, Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles
Clinical Psychology Trainee, 1978-1979
Division of Psychiatry and Psychology,
Wadsworth Hospital Medical Center,
Veterans Administration, Brentwood California
Psychology Intern, 1977-1978
Human Relations Center Psychology/Marriage, Family, Child Clinic
University of Southern California

Relevant Publications

Bernard, L. C., & Krupat, E. (1994). Health psychology: Biopsychosocial factors in health and illness. Ft. Worth, Texas: Harcourt Brace.

Bernard, L. C., McGrath, M.J., & Houston, W. (1993). Discriminating between simulated malingering and closed head injury on the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 8, 539-551.

Bernard, L. C., & Belinsky, D. (1993). Hardiness, stress, and maladjustment: effects on self-reported retrospective health problems and prospective health center visits. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 8, 97-110.

Bernard, L. C., Houston, W., & Natoli, L. (1993). Malingering on neuropsychological memory tests: Potential objective indicators. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 49, 45-53.

Bernard, L. C. (1991). The detection of faked deficits on the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test: The effect of serial position. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 6, 81-88.

Bernard, L. C. (1990). Prospects for faking believable memory deficits on neuropsychological tests and the use of incentives in simulation research. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 12, 715-728.

Bernard, L. C., & Fowler, W. (1990). Assessing the validity of memory complaints: Performance of brain-damaged and normal individuals on Rey's task to detect malingering. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 46, 432-436.

Bernard, L. C. (1989). Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Test performance of Black, Hispanic, and White young adult males from poor academic backgrounds. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 4, 267-274.

Additional information, publications, and research, are available in my curriculum vitae.