LSAC Held in Contempt for Disability Discrimination

By George Khoury, Esq. on March 08, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Law School Admissions Council is in some serious hot water with the law right now as a federal judge in California just held the organization in contempt. Shockingly, the contempt order came as a result of LSAC's failure to abide by a consent decree that implemented major changes to the testing accommodations process for disabled test takers.

Upon review of the matter, on motion by the DFEH, the court found that the LSAC, and its appointed monitor, were in violation of the consent decree setting forth particular requirements. And if you doubt that it was bad, the contempt order explained that blind and other disabled test takers were showing up to take the test without any accommodations being provided, despite accommodations being requested. Over a two year period between 2015 and 2017, only eight accommodation request appeals were processed, which, given the number of requests, was indicative of a policy that discouraged appeals.

Partial Denial Policy

One of the major issues discussed in the contempt order is the LSAC policy of issuing a partial accommodation to a majority of the requests, with the expectation that test takers will just accept the offer.

Notably, many would receive the partial accommodation determination after the deadline to file additional documentation, or with an unreasonably short amount of time to respond, such as 48 hours. This short, or non-existent, turnaround time meant that test takers that required more than a partial accommodation would have to wait until the next available testing date. During a two year period after the consent decree went into effect, nearly a thousand test takers received one of these partial accommodation letters.

Contempt Order

Basically, the contempt order requires continued and improved monitoring of the LSAC's disability accommodations process for an additional two years. Interestingly, the court found that while the appointed monitor failed, as a result of there being no mechanism to change the monitor in the decree, they would be given another opportunity. With any luck, as the fees will start adding up if they can't get it right, the contempt finding will inspire LSAC to truly improve their process.

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