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On Demand Audio

Representing Clients with Mental Illness in Criminal Matters in Washington State

(153 reviews)

Produced on November 17, 2014

Taught by
$ 59 Criminal, Law Practice Management, and Public Interest In Stock

Course Information

Time 1h
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

The art of representing clients who have a mental illness requires a nuanced understanding of assessment and interview protocols. Join criminal defense attorney Margaret Brammall as she instructs viewers on how to take cues from a client’s behavior and demeanor during the initial client interview to establish a strong and productive relationship. Ms. Brammall explores the ethical issues involved in representing clients with diminished capacity, and reviews competency standards. She discusses involuntary medication hearings pursuant to State v. Sell.  Additionally, she analyzes statutory mitigating factors with regard to sentencing, and teaches viewers how to minimize the amount of time that such individuals are involved in the legal system. Finally, she reviews critical issues in the successful conclusion of the case, with emphasis on how to keep the client out of further trouble.  


This program will be helpful to all criminal defense attorneys, who will inevitably represent many clients with mental illness during their careers.


Learning Objectives:

I.    Recognize if a client has a mental illness 

II.   Establish and maintain rapport

III.  Deal with a suicidal client 

IV.  Identify whether a client is competent and provide assistance to an incompetent client

V.   Successfully resolve these cases 



Margaret Brammall

Toojian Law Firm

Margaret Brammall is a Partner at Toojian Law Firm. Margaret spent many years in medical research, investigating the connections between the brain and behavior. After graduating from law school later in life, she clerked for Justice Bridge and Justice Chambers at the Washington State Supreme Court. She then spent several years as a public defender, including six years with Thurston County Office of Assigned Counsel. During that time she was the public defender for Mental Health Court and she represented clients who faced civil commitment hearings. She also represented clients charged with felonies, most of whom had a mental illness. Since her retirement at the end of 2009, she has worked for the Toojian Law Firm. 

Areas of Practice

Margaret restricts her practice primarily to representing clients whose mental illness causes them to risk losing their freedom, including those charged with felonies or misdemeanors and others who face civil commitment. She practices mainly in Thurston County but occasionally represents clients in Pierce and King Counties. 

Volunteer Expeirence

Pierce County Mental Health Advisory Board

Certified instructor for Mental Health First Aid

Housing Commissioner, Pierce County


Phoenix Award for professional in the field of mental illness: Behavioral Health Resources 2008


Daniel C.

One of the better presentations so far. Great practical advice from someone with real world experience.

Stacy A.

What a thoughtful and caring attorney.

Leslie W.

I appreciate this instructor's compassion towards those with mental illness. Her approach to these representations is inspiring!

Julia R.

Very useful; well done presentation.

Kristine C.

Excellent Presentation

Raymond K.

I do not practice in this area, and sampled, just to give it a try. Speaker is terrific and it really opened my eyes. Highly recommend!

Lauren K.

Very practical

Andrew M.

Speaker was particularly excellent.

Matthew P.

Admire her great experience.

Terry S.

Excellent course.

Todd M.

very informative

George L.

Good class.

Chukwuka O.

Great Instructor

arthur s.

very well presented

Robert V.

Very helpful written materials

Robert M.

Speaker came with a lot of experience. Important information for my practice.

Lori H.

Well presented, compassionate and effective

Joseph D.

Very interesting seminar.

hester m.

This speaker really embodies that currently popular British motto, "Keep calm and carry on.: -- ! She did a marvelously calm and rational tour through the frightening, abysmally depressing world of serving clients who aren't sane. I actually enjoyed th

Andrew S.

good job

Wendy W.

Very helpful. Wish we had more than an hour for this topic.

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