Is the Law School Admission Test Discriminatory?

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on September 28, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Anyone who's sat through the Law School Admissions Test knows that it's no walk in the park. But a group of prospective lawyers claim that it actually discriminates against people with disabilities.

The group isn't alone in their allegations. On Wednesday the U.S. Justice Department submitted a motion to intervene in the case on behalf of the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit claims that the test isn't just difficult; it's discriminatory against people with disabilities. If that claim is true, the Law School Admissions Council could be in trouble with the American's with Disabilities Act.

The LSAT currently requires documentation before persons with disabilities can get accommodations for the exam. The suit claims those requirements are too difficult, according to a report by Westlaw.

The plaintiffs are also suing for discrimination because the LSAC informs law schools about which test takers needed disability related accommodations.

U.S. attorneys argue that this kind of 'flagging' essentially announces that test takers who receive accommodations may not deserve their scores, reports the ABA Journal. But the LSAC isn't interested in this argument.

They claim that the DOJ's contention is a 'novel argument' which shouldn't be permitted for an intervenor's motion. They also point out that the DOJ failed to bring up that point in a settlement back in 2002 after investigating LSAC's practices, according to Westlaw.

Plaintiffs claim that the test does not meet ADA requirements that in its current form. The current test procedures allegedly make it unreasonably difficult for those applicants to sit the exam.

This lawsuit isn't LSAC's only issue. In February 2012 the ABA took aim at the organization when it adopted a new policy.

It calls for reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities who take the LSAT, a fair process for determining who should have accommodations, and an end to flagging test scores of students who receive accommodations.

It doesn't go so far as to say the current policy discriminates against applicants with disabilities. But it certainly doesn't make the LSAT sound fair either.

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