LSAC Accommodations, Part 4: The Controversy, Part 2: DOJ Joins the Party

    The four parts of this series are:

    Part 1 of this discussion dealt with a case that LSAC filed in response to recent California legislation regarding the issue of "flagging" LSAT scores (distinguishing the score reports of those with special accommodations from those who take the LSAT under standard conditions). In that case, LSAC was successful in its challenge to the brand new legislation. Part Two deals with a major case that has been filed against LSAC--one in which the Department of Justice has recently intervened.

    The Justice Department announced in September its intent to intervene in a case that began as a California-based class action, alleging various violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including "widespread and systematic deficiencies in the way it processes requests by people with disabilities for testing accommodations for the Law School Admission Test."

    The Justice Department's two general claims:

    1)     That LSAC turns down the requests of many applicants, in many cases despite well-documented certification and histories of accommodations; and

    2)     That the practice of flagging accommodated test scores identifies those with disabilities--a disclosure of confidential information which, the Justice Department alleges, amounts to discriminatory behavior prohibited by the ADA.

    The Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department called the Department's participation "critical to protecting the public interest in the important issues raised in this case."  Among the victims identified in the initial complaint was a student who, despite a long term and well-documented visual impairment, was denied several requested accommodations which included a large print book.  Another victim specified was a well-documented dyslexic who was denied extra time but provided with no explanation for the denial. In October, the DOJ request to intervene was granted in the case of The Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. LSAC et al. 

    Regardless of the outcome of the DOJ case, the issues surrounding the LSAC accommodations request process are complex, and the battle is likely to continue for the forseeable future. Updates to come...