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Monterey County Chapter 

CAMFT Law & Ethics Webinar

  • 27 Oct 2023
  • 9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
  • Zoom (link provided upon registration)


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CAMFT Law & Ethics Webinar


Friday, October 27, 9:00 am - 4:15 pm via Zoom


Bradley J. Muldrow, Esq.

Michael Griffin, Esq., LCSW

Alain Montgomery, Esq.

6 CEUs offered


9:00 am – 12:15 pm

“No-Stress Records Requests” with Bradley J. Muldrow, Esq

12:15pm - 1:00pm  

Lunch Break

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm  

“Working with clients who are involved in the legal system” with Michael Griffin

2:45 pm – 4:15 pm 

“Legal and Ethical Guidance for Therapists to Rely on When a Client Asks for a Letter” with Alain Montgomery, Esq

Presentation Info:

1st Presentation

"No-Stress Records Requests" 

Bradley J. Muldrow, Esq. 

CEs: 3 


A. Instructor Information 

Bradley Jordan Muldrow, Esq., CAMFT Staff Attorney 

As a CAMFT staff attorney, Bradley J. Muldrow, Esq. takes member phone calls regarding law and ethics  issues and contributes articles on those subjects to CAMFT's publication, the Therapist. Prior to joining CAMFT’s legal team, Brad worked on litigation and regulatory matters as an attorney for San Diego Gas &  Electric Company. 

Since becoming an attorney, Brad has given law and ethics presentations to attorneys and judges as a member of the J. Clifford Wallace Inn of Court. He has also served as a board member for the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Foundation, a San Diego-based nonprofit.  

B. General Information/Description 

“Are my notes sufficient?”  

“Do I have to provide the entire record??”  

“Could my license be at risk???”  

Anxiety-inducing questions like these often flood therapists’ minds the moment they receive recordsrequests from patients, attorneys, insurance companies, or other third parties. However, understanding  how to create quality patient records and effectively respond to records requests can allow practitionersto handle such requests with confidence and ease. Join CAMFT staff attorney Brad Muldrow for a helpful  overview of the legal and ethical requirements for recordkeeping and responding to records requests. 

C. Educational Goals 

Participants will become familiar with notetaking approaches that: 1) are consistent with their legal and  ethical obligations; and 2) demonstrate their competence and the effectiveness of their services in case  the notes are ever reviewed by attorneys or other third parties during litigation, BBS disciplinary hearings, or other legal processes. Participants will understand state and federal requirements for responding to records requests from patients, attorneys, insurance companies, and other third parties. 

D. Measurable Learning Objectives 

Participants will be able to recognize the BBS’ recordkeeping standard and identify two additional  recordkeeping systems that are utilized by certain third-party payers and employers. Participants will  know how long the law requires them to keep patient records post-termination and why CAMFT recommends that practitioners keep their records for three years beyond that period. Participants will recognize important legal distinctions between responding to records requests under HIPAA and California law. 

E. Outline 

I. Recordkeeping 

a. What Are Patient Records? 

b. Standard for Recordkeeping 

c. Recordkeeping Ethics 

d. Responsibilities of Supervisors 

e. Substance of the Record 

f. Approaches to Notetaking 

g. Purposes for Notetaking 

II. Maintaining Records 

a. Record Retention Period 

III. Responding to Records Requests 

a. Records Requests from Patients 

◼ HIPAA Requirements 

◼ California Law Requirements 

b. Providing a Treatment Summary in Lieu of the Record 

c. Requests for Minor Patients’ Records 

d. Records Requests from Attorneys 

e. Records Requests from Insurance Companies 

◼ Considerations for In-Network Providers 

◼ Considerations for Out-of-Network Providers 

f. Records Requests from Other Third Parties 

g. Requests for Deceased Patients’ Records 

IV. Conclusion 

F. Resources 

• California Health and Safety Code Section 123115 

• 45 CFR § 164.524 

• Business and Professions Code Section 4982(v)

2nd Presentation

“Working with clients who are involved in the legal system” 

Michael Griffin, Esq., LCSW 

CE: 1.5 


A. Instructor Information 

Michael Griffin, Esq., LCSW, CAMFT Staff Attorney 

Michael Griffin, Esq., LCSW has been a member of the CAMFT legal team since 2007. A graduate of the  USC School of Social Work and Chapman University School of Law, Mr. Griffin earned his LCSW in 1982  and his California license as an Attorney in 2002. He has a broad professional background in various  mental health settings (including Western Youth Services in Orange County, California, and Rady  Children’s Psychiatry Dep’t in San Diego) as a clinician, administrator, supervisor, clinical case manager,  school program coordinator, and outpatient clinic director, and has served as an oral examiner for LCSW  candidates. In addition to his work for CAMFT, Mr. Griffin is a practicing psychotherapist with adults,  adolescents and children in Laguna Niguel, California 

B. General Information/Description 

This 1.5 - hour workshop will provide an overview of legal and ethical issues which commonly arise when  working with clients who are involved in the legal system. The workshop will discuss the importance of clearly defining the therapist’s role and client expectations at the start of treatment, including  expectations concerning the therapist’s possible participation in the client’s legal matter. Issues such as  letter writing, offering one’s opinion to the court, and the therapist’s responsibility to the legal system, as expressed in the Code of Ethics, will also be considered. Vignette examples will be utilized, as time allows.  

C. Educational Goals 

This 1.5- hour workshop discusses a variety of legal and ethical issues which may arise when working  with clients who are involved with the legal system. Issues to be discussed include the importance of  defining one’s role and identifying client expectations and important considerations for a therapist when  writing letters for clients or offering testimony regarding a client. 

D. Measurable Learning Objectives 

Upon completion of this workshop, attendees will be able to: 

  1. Explain why a therapist should consider their scope of competence before offering their  professional opinion regarding a client.  

  2. Describe one or more sections of the CAMFT Code of Ethics that are relevant for a therapist to  consider before offering their opinion in a case that is court-involved.  

  3. Describe the requirement of impartiality, as it is described in section 10.5 of the Code of Ethics.  

  4. Describe the role of “treating therapist” compared to “forensic expert,” as they are defined in  section 10.2 (Expert Witnesses) of the Code of Ethics.  

  5. Provide one or more examples of conflicting roles when working with clients who are involved with  the legal system.  

E. Course Outline 

I. Workshop Overview 

II. Defining the therapist’s role and clarifying client expectations 

I. 3. Informed Consent and Disclosure 

II. 3.1 Informed Decision-Making 

III. 10. Responsibility to the legal system  

I. 10.3: Conflicting Roles 

II. 10.4: Dual Roles 

III. 10.9: Consequences of Changes in Therapist Roles 

IV. 10.5: Impartiality 

V. 10.6: Minors and Privilege 

VI. 10.7: Professional Opinions in Court-involved Cases 

VII. 10.11 Custody Disputes 

VIII. 5.14: Limits of Professional Opinions 

IX. 5.11: Scope of Competence 

X. 1845 Code of Regulations (Scope of Competence) 

I. Performing or holding oneself out as able to perform professional services  beyond one’s scope of competence is unprofessional conduct.  

XI. 10.1: Testimony  

XII. 10.2: Expert Witnesses 

F. Resources 

  1. Montgomery, Alain, Esq., “Guidelines to help you stay within your scope of practice and  competency when writing letters and offering opinions,” On-Demand learning library, 

  2. Griffin, Michael, Esq., “Working with Clients who are Involved in the Legal System,” The  Therapist, March 2015.

  3. Tran-Lien, Ann, Esq., “Releasing Records in the Age of Adolescent Consent,” The Therapist,  Jan., 2019. 

  4. Muldrow, Bradley, Esq., “Minor’s Consent for Mental Health Treatment: It’s as Easy As 1,2,3,”  The Therapist, Sept. 2022.  

  5. Griffin, Michael, Esq., “Ethical Considerations in Treatment Planning,” The Therapist, July 2022. 

  6. Roscoe, Kristin, Esq., “Nothing but the Truth: What to Expect When Called to Testify at a  Hearing or Trial,” The Therapist, March 2022.

3rd Presentation

“Legal and Ethical Guidance for Therapists to Rely on When a Client Asks for a Letter” Alain Montgomery, Esq. 

1.5 CEs 


A. Instructor Information 

Alain Montgomery, Esq., CAMFT Staff Attorney 

Alain Lance Montgomery, Esq., is a member of the State Bar of California. Alain received a Bachelor of  Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Juris Doctor degree  from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Prior to joining the CAMFT legal department, Alain worked in  public interest law as a legal advisor for the Superior Court of California where he helped self represented parties navigate the complexities of small claims litigation. As a member of the CAMFT legal  department, Alain has served as part of the support staff for the CAMFT Ethics Committee and has  represented the Association at various state regulatory board meetings. After graduating from college  and before attending law school, Alain worked as a ski instructor at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort. 

B. General Information/Description 

Therapists are often asked to write letters, fill out forms and offer professional opinions on behalf of  clients. During this one-and-a-half-hour presentation, CAMFT Staff Attorney Alain Montgomery, will  review the key legal and ethical standards for therapists to consider before writing a letter or filling out a  form on behalf of a client and discuss how to manage the array of potential outcomes. 

C. Educational Goals 

  • To help workshop participants identify the applicable CAMFT ethical standards that relate to letter writing 

  • To review the different types of letters that providers are typically asked to write on behalf of clients 

  • To provide workshop participants with guidelines for writing letters 

  • To ensure workshop participants are equipped to make legally and ethically sound decisions  when writing letters on behalf of a client

  • To help workshop participants understand the potential outcomes that could arise as a result of  having written a letter on behalf of a client 

D. Measurable Learning Objectives 

Upon completion of the workshop, participants will be able to: 

  • Identify the applicable standards of care and relevant sections of the CAMFT Code of Ethics that address issues related to writing letters 

  • Develop practical guidelines for writing letters and transmitting letters to clients or third parties 

  • Identify the various types of letters that a therapist is typically asked to write at the request of a client 

  • Understand the potential outcomes which could result from having written a letter on behalf of a client 


I. Introduction 

II. Ethical Standards, Rules, and Considerations that pertain to letter writing 

a. CAMFT Code of Ethics sections that are relevant for a therapist who chooses to write  letters or offer a professional opinion on behalf of a client 

i. §5.11 Code of Ethics Scope of Competence 

ii. §5.14 Code of Ethics Limits of Professional Opinions 

iii. §10.3 Code of Ethics Conflicting Roles 

iv. §10.4 Code of Ethics Dual Roles 

v. §10.7 Code of Ethics Professional Opinions in Court Involved Cases 

III. Rules and Considerations to Evaluate Before Writing a Letter 

a. The Legal Standard of Care for Professionals 

i. Cal. Bus. and Prof. Code, Section 4982(d) 

b. The MFT Scope of Practice: Scope of practice delineates the breadth of functions a LMFT  may lawfully perform as derived from statutory and regulatory authority. 

i. California Business and Professions Code, Section 4980.02 

c. The MFT Scope of Competence: Scope of competence defines and limits what a LMFT may  do based on a practitioner’s education, training and experience. 

i. Cal. Bus. and Prof. Code, Section 4982(s) 

d. Cal. Code of Regulations, Section 1845 

IV. Practical Guidelines for Writing Letters 

V. Types of letter requests that a therapist receives 

a. Overview of California’s New Emotional Support Dog Letter Law 

i. California Health and Safety Code, Section §122318 

b. Letters/Forms Attesting to a Client’s Disability

i. Eligible Providers that can complete Social Security Disability under [20 CFR  

§ 416.902. (a)(1)-(8)] 

ii. Eligible Providers that can complete certifications for Family Medical Leave under  [29 CFR § 825.125 (a)-(c)] 

c. Other Types of Letters 

VI. Potential Outcomes  

i. Clients Goals Achieved 

ii. Client or Third-Party Requests Client’s Record 

iii. Provider is Subpoenaed to Produce Documentation or Testify 

VII. Best Practices  

F. Resources 

  1. “SOMETIMES, It’s What You DON’T SAY…” by Michael Griffin, JD, LCSW CAMFT Staff  Attorney, The Therapist March/April 2013  

  2.  “Scope of Practice” by Mary Riemersma, MBA, Former Executive Director of CAMFT, The  Therapist July/August 2001 

  3. “Responding To a Subpoena” by Alain Montgomery, JD, Staff Attorney, The Therapist January/February 2016 

  4. “Nothing But the Truth, Part 1” by Kristin Roscoe, JD, Staff Attorney, The Therapist  March/April 2020 

  5.  “Affirming Care: How Therapists Can Support Adult Patients Seeking Gender-affirming  Surgeries” by Bradley J. Muldrow, JD, Staff Attorney, The Therapist September/October  2021 

  6. “Patient Records Under California Law, the Basics” by Alain Montgomery, JD, CAMFT Staff  Attorney, The Therapist May/June 2015 

  7. “A Patient's Right to Access Mental Health Records Under HIPAA” by Ann Tran-Lien, JD,  CAMFT Managing Director of Legal Affairs, The Therapist September/October 2014 

  8. “Emotional Support Animals, Service Animals, and Reasonable Accommodations” by  Bradley J. Muldrow, JD, Staff Attorney, The Therapist January/February 2022 

  9. i. Emotional Support Dog Checklist (CAMFT Website under Sample Practice Forms)

6 CEs are included in the registration cost for this presentation


Licensed MC-CAMFT Members:  $75

Pre-Licensed MC-CAMFT Members: $50

Non-Members and Guests:  $90

Course meets the qualifications for 6 hours of continuing education credits for LMFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, and/or LCSWs, as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.


Please contact Kate Newhouse at


Please Note: Certificates of completion will be awarded at the completion of the workshop to those who attend the workshop in its entirety, sign in and out, and complete the course evaluation form.

MC-CAMFT is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and LEPs and maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  Provider# 050097.

Information on Continuing Education Credit for Health Professionals

  • The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.

  • LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFTs, and other mental health professionals from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board as to whether or not they accept programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.

  • For questions about enrolling in CE or receiving your Certificate of Attendance, email

You may cancel for a full refund up to 15 days in advance of the event, or a 50% refund between 5 and 14 days in advance of the event. No refunds for cancellations within 4 days of the event or for no-shows or failure to attend due to emergencies. Unused funds cannot be applied to future workshops. All requests for refunds must be submitted by email at

The Monterey County Chapter of the California Association of Marriage Family Therapists (MC-CAMFT)  is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 

P.O. Box 3092, Monterey, CA 93942

Located on Ancestral Native Lands of Rumsen/Ohlone/Esselen Peoples

MC-CAMFT Grievance Policy:  If a grievance regarding CEUs is brought to the attention of the MC-CAMFT Board the board will review it and will vote on the validity of the grievance.  If the grievance is proven valid by the Board a full or partial refund will be given.

ADA Compliance:  All MC-CAMFT luncheons and conferences are held in accessible locations.

Sponsorship Disclaimer:  Products and services described or advertised in these materials occur by contractual business arrangements between MCCAMFT and participating companies and organizations. These arrangements do not constitute or imply MCCAMFT’s endorsement of these products and services. Further, MCCAMFT cannot make specific recommendations for such products, programs or services.

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