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New York Psychologists Legal Defense

New York Psychologists Legal Defense

Long years of hard work and dedication

Long years of hard work and dedication go into becoming a psychologist and establish a sustainable psychological practice. The majority of licensed psychologists are devoted professionals who dedicate their lives to being there for people in need. Unfortunately, allegations of professional misconduct against New York psychologists come about often and can potentially be career-ending. The attorneys of Spodek Law Group have assisted numerous New York psychologists and social workers who were up against grave professional misconduct charges.

The general nature of the New York disciplinary process

For starters, let’s talk about the general nature of the New York disciplinary process against psychologists and other mental health professionals as well as the potential outcomes and ramifications. The majority of disciplinary matters that come against New York psychologists originate as patient complaints of professional misconduct. Although the list of what is professional misconduct in the state of New York includes roughly forty different items as defined by New York Education Law, the most frequent allegations psychologists must fight include the following:

  • Sexual activity with patients
  • Overstepping of boundaries with patients
  • Abuse of controlled substances
  • Practicing with negligence
  • Being convicted of any crime in any state or jurisdiction
  • Being professionally disciplined by other jurisdictions
  • Allowing unlicensed staff members to carry out licensed duties
  • Fraudulent billing practices

Because psychologists work with a vulnerable patient population, it would follow that they are held to a much higher degree of scrutiny by licensing authorities. This makes any allegation of misconduct especially egregious in its consequences for the professional’s career.

When the complaint comes into the office

When the complaint comes into the office, it lands in the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD), which has authority and jurisdiction to conduct the investigation and to prosecute all cases of professional misconduct in New York. At some point, the subject of the investigation is informed by a letter that there is an open investigation into charges against them. When cases involve psychologists, the OPD will always ask for the licensee to produce patient records as well as that the psychologist comes in for an interview with the OPD investigator. It is critical that you realize that while production of documents is obligatory in such cases, interviewing with the investigator is not mandatory. In actuality, it could be and often turns out to be ruinous to the case. This is due to the fact that any statement made to the investigator can and will be used against the psychologist. In those cases involving one-on-one therapy sessions in general and cases of many patients who visit psychological practices, it often comes down to a “who said and did what” situation, which, in concert with patient records, may be extremely damaging to the practitioner, even if the allegations are not always true or are not entirely representative of what actually happened. This is why we always suggest that any psychologist up against a disciplinary investigation secure themselves legal counsel as soon as possible before replying to the OPD letter.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

Bear in mind that the investigator’s main responsibility is to collect evidence against the subjects of their investigations, which is precisely what they are trained to do. When seeking out an attorney, make certain that they have specific experience in the highly specialized field of OPD defense. You should be extremely concerned if an attorney offers to accompany you to an OPD interview. If you give any statements that end up in a career-ending result, it is totally irrelevant that you were accompanied by a lawyer to the interview.

A knowledgeable attorney experienced in defending physiologists

A knowledgeable attorney experienced in defending physiologists will go through your case with you in detail, contact and talk with the investigator, and then advise you on the best course of action from your end.

At the conclusion of the investigative process, the agency will decide whether or not the body of evidence supports filing formal disciplinary charges. The prosecuting attorney is assigned to your case and will get in touch with your lawyer to offer a proposal. You will be offered the option of going to a hearing or working out a consent agreement with the government. Your lawyer will explain to you the pros and cons of each option. If you choose to resolve the case by consent, you should be aware that this option is very much akin to a plea bargain in a criminal case. What this means is that you agree to cop to some form of misconduct in exchange for the negotiated deal, which includes some disciplinary action, which will normally become public record.

In the case of discipline, the possible options range from censure and reprimand to monetary fines to probation to license suspension or even revocation. It will all depend on the particulars of your case, particularly on the quality of evidence the prosecutor possesses, which is the reason that it is so critical to engage the attorney early on as the investigation progresses.


Through the years, we have been there for numerous mental health professionals including psychologists and social workers in cases running just about the entire spectrum of legal dilemmas they can face in the state of New York. We have an impressive track record defending psychologists in front of the OPD as well as law enforcement agencies like the Attorney General’s Office and the local District Attorney’s offices. We also represent psychologists when they are dealing with insurance and medicaid billing problems.

If you are a licensed New York psychologist up against legal dilemmas, give us a call today to schedule your immediate confidential consultation.

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