By Harkirat Singh Kang*
In May, 2014 United States Justice Department in his historical consent decree against Law School Admission Council, the body administering LSAT, awarded damages to the amount of $7.7 million for contravening Americans with Disabilities Act. The amount will be distributed among 6,000 students who have applied for testing accommodation in the past five years. This has opened doors for providing accommodation to disabled students in Canada for LSAT.
The LSAT doesn’t comply with most provisional Human Rights Law and the most important factor for that is most law schools don’t have control or power to enforce that on LSAT. Law schools will be discriminating provincial human rights law if student’s disability is not taken into consideration.
LSAT is relied heavily by law schools for admission for their law programs. Although less weight is given to LSAT score in Canada as compared to USA but still it is an important criteria for admission. Another system to replace LSAT with a new system accommodating disabled student or complying with Human Rights Code won’t be a cost effective solution. Although LSAT doesn’t comply with Canadian human rights law but still it’s an important method for testing candidates as it takes into account of each candidate’s circumstances. It’s expected that those taking extra time or require special accommodation, their accommodation won’t be marked on their LSAT application.
Student with disabilities have real problems in USA. The class action in USA which was initiated by 3 students against a provision of LSAT regarding extra time requirements by disabled student for being discriminatory saw almost 40 students joining them.
The US judgment is a step forward for those who have been denied opportunity because of their disability. It is expected that disability friendly LSAT will be implemented in Canada and will bring a level playing field for everyone.
*This article is a summary of article written by Jon Cook, Disability friendly LSAT coming to Law School near your, Canadian Lawyer Magazine, available online <http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/5141/Disability-friendly-LSAT-coming-to-a-law-school-near-you.html>.
*Article summarized by Harkirat Singh Kang