Related to More formal word for "know-it-all"

I need an alternative for the word clinical in the following context. This is a quote from my special education impartial hearing transcript. The child's therapist, a PhD in psychology, is the person testifying. (I'm the one who asked the question.) She's describing anomalies she observed in a school meeting she attended. Normally these meetings involve the child's teachers and parents talking collaboratively about how to resolve certain academic and behavior problems that come up in school for the child, who has a disability.

Q: What sort of role were you seeing the district's lawyer play?

A: A very active role. I think if someone just looked at the meeting, it would appear to have been run by the attorney and the deputy superintendent. Both the administrator and the attorney engaged in a great deal of back-and-forth often about clinical issues.

I need another way of expressing this idea of clinical issues, to use in the analysis section of my written Closing Argument.

Here's a standard definition of clinical, which doesn't seem to fit (Collins Dictionary of Medicine):

  1. Concerned with the immediate observation, examination and treatment of patients.
  2. Relating to a CLINIC.

These look more promising (Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary):

clinical policies: professional rules of thumb which are used to decide on the management of a case when there are no research results on which to base decisions. They are policies originated by the senior members of the profession, especially those in academic posts.

clinical judgment: exerted while the patient is still alive; the critical decisions made on the basis of scientific observations but with the added skill provided by long experience of similar cases. To this must be added an innate ability to make balanced judgments based not only on the state of the animal and its predictable future but also on some consideration for the patient's overall well-being and the client's financial status and degree of psychological, or in some cases actual, dependence on the patient.

I feel like I understand what the psychologist was saying in her testimony; she's used to using clinical in this way, in her profession. But I would be more comfortable using a different word when I'm writing in my own voice.

The closest I've gotten is

issues of educational management of the child's disabilities

And my point is going to be that the lawyer is not qualified to participate actively in those discussions, and that it's not appropriate for her to get involved in educational management decisions to that extent.

Is there something closer to clinical than my proposed educational management?

  • 2
    Ah yes. I also work in special education, and I feel like I've been in that same meeting. I think your phrase "issues of educational management" is good, but could use an addition such as "outside the scope of legal expertise" to reinforce that the lawyer is not trained in the matters in which s/he is engaging in decision-making. Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 17:10
  • 1
    @KatherineLockwood Agree. The lawyer shouldn't engage in the the unauthorized practice of psychology any more than the psychologist should engage in the unauthorized practice of law. Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 19:51
  • @RichardKayser - That's a doozie. I'm going to use that. Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 23:22
  • Glad you like it. I learned it from a lawyer friend of mine, many of whose clients were scientists. During arguments, he would often accuse them of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. :-) What I said about the lawyer applies equally to the school administrator. Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 23:31
  • @RichardKayser - but that's exactly the problem I was asking for help with in this question. What the psychologist practices is "clinical psychology". What do the educators practice? That's where the lawyer was meddling too much, without understanding the issues. Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 0:23

1 Answer 1


@JEL commented, "Issues of educational management are pedagogical issues."

Here's what I ended up with:

It is improper for the lawyer to express opinions about pedagogical or medical matters.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.