SOUTHFIELD, Mich. and NEWTOWN, Pa., Oct. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Law School Admission Council("LSAC"), Angelo Binno, and Shelesha Taylor are pleased to report that they have amicably resolved a lawsuit that Mr. Binno filed against LSAC in May 2017 in a Michigan federal court.
Mr. Binno had asked LSAC to waive the Analytical Reasoning ("AR") section of the Law School Admission Test ("LSAT") as a testing accommodation based upon his significant near- point visual impairment, which he says prevents him from drawing and using diagrams when answering questions on the AR section. LSAC approved several accommodations for Mr. Binno but denied his request to waive the AR section. Mr. Binno's lawsuit claimed that LSAC violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act by denying his requested waiver. Ms. Taylor also has significant near-point visual impairment and moved to intervene as an additional plaintiff in the lawsuit. LSAC denies that it violated Mr. Binno's or Ms. Taylor's rights in any way. In response to the Plaintiffs claims, LSAC noted that not everyone diagrams when working on the AR section and that there are alternative ways to diagram for those who find it helpful.
Rather than continuing to litigate, the parties have chosen to work cooperatively to expand access to legal education and ensure that disability remains a critical component of diversity in U.S. law schools. Under the settlement, LSAC has agreed, among other things, to work with Mr. Binno and Ms. Taylor to identify additional accommodations that they can use if they take the LSAT in the future, while maintaining the validity and integrity of the LSAT examination. Accommodations that are available to blind examinees when taking the LSAT include using a reader and scribe, use of an Excel spreadsheet, taking a computer-based administration with screen-reading software, use of a tactile system (e.g., rubber graph board with tactile letters or pictures, or a magnetic board with magnetic letters or objects), using a braille exam form, and use of a braille writer or braille graphics and figures. Additionally, LSAC has begun research and development into alternative ways to assess analytical reasoning skills, as part of a broader review of all question types to determine how the fundamental skills for success in law school can be reliably assessed in ways that offer improved accessibility for all test takers. Consistent with the parties' agreement, LSAC will complete this work within the next four years, which will enable all prospective law school students to take an exam administered by LSAC that does not have the current AR section but continues to assess analytical reasoning abilities.
Mr. Binno and Ms. Taylor, who are represented by Nyman Turkish PC, a national litigation and disability law firm, working in conjunction with Wayne State University Law School's Disability Law Clinic, have agreed to assist LSAC in its ongoing efforts to enhance the LSAT examination experience for all examinees, including blind examinees, during this critical research and development phase.
"The Plaintiffs, two extraordinary blind law school applicants, have accomplished something very positive through this outcome that will enhance opportunity at our nation's law schools," said Jason Turkish, lead counsel for the Plaintiffs. "I am very pleased that under the new leadership of President Testy, LSAC is undertaking important initiatives to ensure access for persons with disabilities. This positive, forward-looking settlement is a demonstration of LSAC's commitment to increasing access to legal education for all."
"Diversity and equal opportunity are vital in legal education and the legal profession," said Kellye Testy, president and CEO of LSAC. "To help promote those goals, LSAC is committed to ensuring that disabled individuals can take our exam in an accessible place and manner, that the LSAT is fair for all test takers, and that we support everyone interested in pursuing law school. We greatly appreciate the willingness of Mr. Binno and Ms. Taylor, and their attorneys, to work collaboratively with LSAC to resolve their concerns."
"After nearly eight-years, I am delighted that I will have an opportunity to demonstrate my aptitude for the study of law, and to help support other candidates with visual impairments as they pursue their dream of attending law school as well," said Plaintiff Angelo Binno, adding that, "for me, the Analytical Reasoning section meant having to answer questions that are based on ordering and group relationships and best approached by drawing pictures and diagrams, something that I cannot do."
In the 2017–2018 testing cycle, LSAC administered nearly 130,000 LSAT examinations throughout the United States and Canada
Contact: Jason M. Turkish, Attorney for Plaintiffs, 855.527.6668
Contact: LSAC, Melissa Harris Thirsk, Vice President, 215.266.3196
SOURCE Nyman Turkish PC