Accommodated Testing on the LSAT
- October 22, 2014
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In May 2014, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) settled a lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding accommodations on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) (link to settlement agreement). In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that the LSAC’s accommodation policy violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as state anti-discrimination laws. Although the LSAC did not admit any liability, it did agree in the consent decree to make significant changes to its notoriously stringent accommodation policy – namely, the LSAC agreed to streamline its evaluation of requests for testing accommodations by giving considerable to documentation of past formal history in testing accommodations and of qualified professionals who have made an individualized assessment of the candidate. The LSAC also agreed to implement additional best practices for reviewing and evaluating testing accommodation requests, including diversification of the LSAC’s expert consultants, and to not reject or deny a candidate’s application for testing accommodation based solely on the candidate’s average or above average IQ score (which, according to experts, can often conceal a disability, whereas sub-scores are where the true nature of disabilities are revealed).
It is unclear whether these changes and a more accessible accommodation policy will be implemented by LSAC with respect to the Canadians to which it provides its testing services. While the LSAC agreed via Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario consent order to be bound by the same accessible procedure in Arenson v. Law School Admission Council, 2010 HRTO 1654 (link to consent order), it appears that the LSAC does not view this consent order as a binding process to be followed when handling accommodation requests by other Canadian applicants. bakerlaw recently represented a client who had been denied his requested accommodation in writing the LSAT, despite the recommendations of numerous qualified professionals personally familiar with the client’s disabilities, and despite his history of receiving the requested accommodation. While the case was settled and the client did not have an opportunity to argue for a more accessible policy for all Canadians applying to write the LSAT, bakerlaw anticipates that these issues will indeed be argued at some point soon if LSAC continues with their inaccessible accommodation policy rather than the procedure laid out in the United States consent decree and in the Arenson v. Law School Admission Council, 2010 HRTO 1654 consent order.
For more information on your rights to accommodation in testing services and in education, please contact us (link).