Students Writing LSAT With Accommodation Will Not Have Law School Applications “Flagged”

By: Paralegal Student · June 5, 2014 · Filed Under Law School, Law School Tips, Privacy, Public Interest · 4 Comments 

The non-profit organization Law School Admission Council (LSAC) based in the United States was penalized $7.7 million USD to compensate over 6000 students from the past 5 years for application to accommodate. Prior practice included Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores being “flagged” on law school applications if accommodation for extra time was applied during examination. The decision impacted domestic United States schools and many other schools abroad where they accepted LSAT scores with law school applications. The United States Department of Justice claimed of “widespread and systemic discrimination” by the LSAC where they intervened with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The LSAT continued to be a key criterion for law school admissions in the United States where excellence in the LSAT was highly prized. The LSAT scores are used throughout Canada and played an important role to determine how schools were ranked. There was no French language LSAT version so Quebec-based schools and University of Ottawa’s French section were not affected. Due to jurisdiction issues, Canadian school officials do not have control over LSAT’s examination policies and procedures. Lorna Turnbull, the dean of Manitoba’s Robson Hall Law School indicated such powerlessness and commented on the incredible amount of money potentially required to exclude LSAT scores for law school admission. Canadian officials are required to accommodate students in accordance with the relevant human rights legislation within their respective jurisdictions. Lorna Turnbull added that Canadian schools have suffered from such passive acceptance for quite some time. The class action lawsuit was initiated by 3 students in California and ballooned to almost 40 claimants where it prompted the United States Department of Justice to issue a consent decree to the LSAC to have breached the Americans with Disabilities Act with systemic discrimination. Sarah Triano, a teenager from the state of California and the class action initiator from 1997 was repeatedly denied accommodation due to her immune deficiency disorder and battles with depression. A piece of statistic from the Osgoode Hall Law School 2013 entering class showed 8% of the students with some sort of disability. The interviewees to the article noted accommodation was meant to create equal opportunity. Ravi Malhotra, an Ottawa law professor and human rights committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities was concerned the practice of “flagging” accommodated students infringed the human rights of Canadians.

by Ho Cheung

Source: Canadian Lawyer Mag


4 Responses to “Students Writing LSAT With Accommodation Will Not Have Law School Applications “Flagged””

  1. Melissa Wixson on June 6th, 2014 3:04 pm

    This is great news. One small step towards accessibility in legal education. Now if only it were affordable.

    It also reminds me to be alert to the ways in which higher education is not an environment free from the reinforcement of the stigma attached to disability — something we should try to actively unlearn.

  2. Shannon O'Connor on June 7th, 2014 10:13 pm

    I strongly agree with Melissa, this definitely is a step in the right direction. The case notes that stigmatization and discrimination are still embedded within North American society. I strongly believe that “flagging” should be eliminated so that all applicants are provided with an equal level playing field.

  3. Lester Tong on June 8th, 2014 2:58 pm

    The only question I have regarding this is how they got away with such open discrimination for so long, seeing how this is a legal profession. Flagging students in need of accommodations should have been seen as discriminatory by those running the LSAT the moment they came up with such procedures and policies.

  4. Ho Cheung Chan on June 8th, 2014 9:15 pm

    I was quite surprised at the open discrimination of certain students of the LSAT examinations. Canadians and others abroad do not have much input into the process, which is entirely U.S.-based. Given the enormity and mobility of the U.S. labour force, many institutions lead the way and set standards. The continued improvements made by them means many other countries have found adoption of such standards to be beneficial in terms of cost. I supposed it was only a matter of time before somebody spoke up and launched the lawsuit.