Dorothea A. Constas

Dorothea Constas Fordham Adjunct Professor of Law

Adjunct Professor of Law

Principal Attorney
Mental Hygiene Legal Service, Appellate Division, First Department
[email protected] 

  • Dorothea Constas is a Principal Attorney with Mental Hygiene Legal Service (MHLS). MHLS is an agency within the Office of Court Administration that provides a broad spectrum of legal services to individuals who suffer from mental illness, persons alleged to be incapacitated, insanity acquitees and those persons in need of a guardian.


    Fordham University School of Law
    September 2005-Present
    Adjunct Professor
    Fundamental Lawyering Skills

    New York Law School
    Adjunct Professor
    Applied Analysis Program
    Academic Support for First Year Students - Worked with students to enhance their writing, time management and exam taking skills

    Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University
    Guest Speaker
    Law & Psychiatry 2018, 2017

    Practicing Law Institute
    Panel Member/Guest Speaker
    June 2016
    Seminar entitled: "Coercion, Treatment and Procedural Justice for the Mentally Ill"


    Mental Hygiene Legal Service, First Department September 1990 – May 2021
    Principal Attorney/Supervising Attorney
    Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center & Manhattan Psychiatric Hospital, Wards Island, NY
    Chief supervising attorney managing a team of senior trial attorneys advocating on behalf of forensic and civil patients in negotiations with corporate hospital administrations, city and state agencies including the New York State Office of Mental Health, District Attorney Offices and the office of the New York State Attorney General. Represented individual clients in proceedings involving release and retention, petitions to treat over objection, clients subject to the Sex Offender Civil Commitment laws passed in 2016, end-of-life decisions for
    those persons falling under the auspices of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and representation of clients under the Criminal Procedure Law.

    NYC Department of Probation 1989 - 1990
    Associate General Counsel

    Hill, Betts & Nash – 1980-1986
    World Trade Center, NY, NY
    Associate Attorney, Maritime and International Law Practice

    Seafarers International Union – AFL-CIO 1976- 1979
    Brooklyn, NY
    Associate Counsel
    Labor Law/Maritime Law Practice


    New York University, NY, NY PhD. Candidate, Counseling Psychology, 1985-1988
    Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, JD 1976
    Emerson College, Boston, MA BA 1972

  • Distinguishing Dementia from Mental Illness and Other Causes of Decline, The Dementia Crisis, New York State Bar Association Journal (January 2017)

    Mental Health Issues and the New York State Courts 2016: Coercion, Treatment and Procedural Justice, Practicing Law Institute (June 2016)