LSAC to pay $7.73M, change LSAT policies in settlement of ADA suit
In a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over Law School Admission Test policies concerning the disabled, the Law School Admission Council has agreed to pay $7.73 million and stop flagging test scores of those who were given extra time, among other policy revisions.
The LSAC did not admit liability in the settlement announced Tuesday in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act case. The money will be used to compensate some 6,000 test-takers nationwide who had asked for accommodations under the ADA over the past five years, according to Courthouse News and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
A DOJ press release provides additional details about the consent decree. It must still be approved by a federal judge in San Francisco before it is final.
The DOJ intervened after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing brought suit on behalf of 17 disabled individuals in 2012. They alleged that they were subjected to cumbersome and unreasonable requirements to document their disabilities after requesting LSAT accommodations, including an LSAC request for information about any medications they might be taking.
The ABA had urged the LSAC to consider revisions to its LSAT procedures.
“Many of the finest members of the legal profession, past and present, have had disabilities. We look forward to a future that builds on this legacy and reflects the talents of all individuals in our diverse society,” says ABA President James R. Silkenat in a press release about the settlement.
The LSAC said in a written statement that it decided to settle “not because we believe that we were wrong in our position, but because we do not think that continued litigation is in the best interests of our member schools or prospective law school students.” It also said the DOJ has been aware, since at least 1986, of the LSAC practice of flagging test results to alert law schools when the applicant was given extra time, and it criticized the DOJ for litigating rather than pursuing change through “a traditional notice-and-comment rule-making,” Law Blog reports.
The DOJ says the policy changes agreed to by the LSAC in the consent decree will benefit thousands of LSAT test-takers in future years.