extra time on exams for disabilities

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Lawl Shcool
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extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby Lawl Shcool » Wed May 12, 2010 3:33 pm

Hey guys there has been a lot of discussion of this issue at my current school and I wanted to hear what the rest of the law school community had to say on the subject.

Basically, about 5% of the total class (1L, 2L, and 3L) get an extra 1.5 hours per exam because of various disabilities, mainly ADD. Some students seem to think that this is a major issue and inherently unfair, etc, etc but the school's response is that they are just complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The bar exam also allows for extra time for disabilities.

Personally, I am all for disadvantaged students getting an equal playing field, but I am apparently in an extreme minority on this. If I had a disability, I would 100% use it to get every advantage that I could and think that others should be given the same opportunity.

So TLS community, does this happen at your schools too and what is the student/faculty reaction to it?

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Wed May 12, 2010 3:50 pm

JPU wrote:Hey guys there has been a lot of discussion of this issue at my current school and I wanted to hear what the rest of the law school community had to say on the subject.

Basically, about 5% of the total class (1L, 2L, and 3L) get an extra 1.5 hours per exam because of various disabilities, mainly ADD. Some students seem to think that this is a major issue and inherently unfair, etc, etc but the school's response is that they are just complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The bar exam also allows for extra time for disabilities.

Personally, I am all for disadvantaged students getting an equal playing field, but I am apparently in an extreme minority on this. If I had a disability, I would 100% use it to get every advantage that I could and think that others should be given the same opportunity.

So TLS community, does this happen at your schools too and what is the student/faculty reaction to it?

As a brain injured law student, I get double time in a quiet space. To the best of my knowledge, no one complains. If they do, fuck them.

BobSacamano
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby BobSacamano » Wed May 12, 2010 5:40 pm

Oy... tough one. Considering I tend to use every single available minute of my exams, I can see being a little miffed that someone gets an extra 1.5 hours to take their exam. Then again, I don't know the extent of these mental disabilities.

Aaaand there's also the argument that nobody wants to touch: these exams are supposed to reflect our abilities as lawyers. Those with mental disabilities are going to have those same disabilities when they are practicing lawyers, and they won't be given extra time to do their work.

I suppose my main point is this: the curve makes me a terrible person :(

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pugalicious
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby pugalicious » Wed May 12, 2010 5:47 pm

ADD? Really? Seems like your school is inviting fraud. I bet there's a Dr. nearby saving for a boat with all the "ADD" students he's now "treating".

Not that ADD isn't real, I know it is. It is also one of the most over-diagnosed learning disabilities, however - easy for dishonest students to get on that extra 1.5 hours list....

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Wed May 12, 2010 5:52 pm

BobSacamano wrote:Oy... tough one. Considering I tend to use every single available minute of my exams, I can see being a little miffed that someone gets an extra 1.5 hours to take their exam. Then again, I don't know the extent of these mental disabilities.

Aaaand there's also the argument that nobody wants to touch: these exams are supposed to reflect our abilities as lawyers. Those with mental disabilities are going to have those same disabilities when they are practicing lawyers, and they won't be given extra time to do their work.

I suppose my main point is this: the curve makes me a terrible person :(

They will take fewer assignments and complete them in the allotted time. Moreover, they are not always mental disabilities. I have a brain injury which caused a gaze palsy. This means that my eyes move slowly and jerkily across the horizontal plane. This means it takes me a longer time to read things. My mind works as fast as anyone's mind. Also, a quick look at my GPA shows that I'm not getting an unfair advantage.

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rayiner
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby rayiner » Wed May 12, 2010 5:57 pm

pugalicious wrote:ADD? Really? Seems like your school is inviting fraud. I bet there's a Dr. nearby saving for a boat with all the "ADD" students he's now "treating".

Not that ADD isn't real, I know it is. It is also one of the most over-diagnosed learning disabilities, however - easy for dishonest students to get on that extra 1.5 hours list....


ADD is probably underdiagnosed among adults. That being said, it responds well to medication and it shouldn't be necessary to give most people who have it extra time.

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jks289
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby jks289 » Wed May 12, 2010 6:00 pm

I had no idea people actually objected to the idea of giving disabled students extra time. I can understand wanting strict controls on who is able to secure the accommodation. But the idea that students with demonstrated and legitimate issues shouldn't be accommodated seems ridiculous.

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SamSeaborn2016
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby SamSeaborn2016 » Wed May 12, 2010 6:03 pm

Obviously, the possiblilty of fraud exists but as far as I know schools require fairly substantial medical documentation for disability accommodations. I suspect that if the student disability office were to see a stream of documentation regarding one particular disability such as ADD coming from one doctor, someone would get suspicious and investigate.

As a person with a physical disability I can't really speak with any authority regarding cognitive disabilities but the ADA is designed to protect a vast number of people across a spectrum of disabilities so what constitutes "reasonable accommodation" can get fuzzy. That said, I think the ADA is fantastic.


There is a national student organization for law students with disabilities and I encourage anyone to join and become involved.

http://www.NALSWD.org

icydash
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby icydash » Wed May 12, 2010 6:10 pm

mikeytwoshoes wrote:They will take fewer assignments and complete them in the allotted time.

I'm not sure this is entirely accurate. You are usually given your assignments by partners... not able to "choose how many you want to take" and which ones you want to take. Also I'd imagine having a disability would be tough in terms of hiring.... I'd imagine that for a firm that makes money based on how many hours they bill, they'd want the most efficient people possible in terms of completing assignments on time, etc...

This is a tough topic to be on either side for; I can see arguments for both sides.

EDIT: the above comments are regarding mental disabilities only.

hubtubrub
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby hubtubrub » Wed May 12, 2010 6:14 pm

what can 1.5 hours more on exams do to you anyway?

It's about how much you know your stuff (granted I'm a 0L so I don't know if it is true or not)...

I would rather have take exames in 1 hour instead of 3 than have a learning disability.

BobSacamano
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby BobSacamano » Wed May 12, 2010 6:15 pm

jks289 wrote:I had no idea people actually objected to the idea of giving disabled students extra time. I can understand wanting strict controls on who is able to secure the accommodation. But the idea that students with demonstrated and legitimate issues shouldn't be accommodated seems ridiculous.

In case I wasn't clear, this pretty much exactly where I fall. It's life living on the curve, man. What's good for someone else is bad for me. I hate it.

hubtubrub
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby hubtubrub » Wed May 12, 2010 6:19 pm

BobSacamano wrote:
jks289 wrote:I had no idea people actually objected to the idea of giving disabled students extra time. I can understand wanting strict controls on who is able to secure the accommodation. But the idea that students with demonstrated and legitimate issues shouldn't be accommodated seems ridiculous.

In case I wasn't clear, this pretty much exactly where I fall. It's life living on the curve, man. What's good for someone else is bad for me. I hate it.


also, in regards to disabilities: why is it our business in regards to who gets extra time and who does not? This is ridic.

BobSacamano
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby BobSacamano » Wed May 12, 2010 6:19 pm

hubtubrub wrote:what can 1.5 hours more on exams do to you anyway?

It's about how much you know your stuff (granted I'm a 0L so I don't know if it is true or not)...

I would rather have take exames in 1 hour instead of 3 than have a learning disability.

I can't speak to what the difference is between taking an exam with an extra 1.5 hours with a mental disability and taking an exam in the usual alloted time without a mental disability, but I will say that with your average issue spotter, you can always spot more issues on an exam. They say there's no such thing as a perfect law exam, meaning that you can always come up with more issues and more avenues for analysis. Like I said before, I use every single available minute cramming crap into an exam. If I had more time, obviously I would hit more issues and expand on my analysis.

icydash
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby icydash » Wed May 12, 2010 6:22 pm

hubtubrub wrote:
BobSacamano wrote:
jks289 wrote:I had no idea people actually objected to the idea of giving disabled students extra time. I can understand wanting strict controls on who is able to secure the accommodation. But the idea that students with demonstrated and legitimate issues shouldn't be accommodated seems ridiculous.

In case I wasn't clear, this pretty much exactly where I fall. It's life living on the curve, man. What's good for someone else is bad for me. I hate it.


also, in regards to disabilities: why is it our business in regards to who gets extra time and who does not? This is ridic.

Well I mean it's only our business because our grade is based on a curve in which disabled students participate....whether that's fair or unfair is up in the air....

... and we were asked to comment on it by the OP haha.... but I have no feeling really either way towards it.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Wed May 12, 2010 6:33 pm

icydash wrote:
mikeytwoshoes wrote:They will take fewer assignments and complete them in the allotted time.

I'm not sure this is entirely accurate. You are usually given your assignments by partners... not able to "choose how many you want to take" and which ones you want to take. Also I'd imagine having a disability would be tough in terms of hiring.... I'd imagine that for a firm that makes money based on how many hours they bill, they'd want the most efficient people possible in terms of completing assignments on time, etc...

This is a tough topic to be on either side for; I can see arguments for both sides.

EDIT: the above comments are regarding mental disabilities only.

ABA has been putting firms on notice that they need to hire and accommadate lawers with disabilities. I agree with you that firms will normally want the most effective lawyers but they must comply with the law just like the law schools. For someone like me, partners will have to learn they can't force us to do more than we are physically capable of doing.

Everyone will be happy to know that LSAC, law schools, and ABA are notoriously stingy with accommodations. The ABA has an online forum for students with mental and physical disabilities. LSAC and ABA asked one girl for test results that no doctor within three states could provide. What's worse is that the test they asked for was not even related to her disability. I personally had to submit to a three hour psych test to prove i could read. Four years of undergrad couldn't prove it but three hours with psychiatrist's assistant could.

You will be unhappy to know that because of this stinginess, there is a general guideline that you ask for more than you need, so that they can deny something. It makes them feel good about their job. :wink: I personally asked to take 2 sections of the LSAT one day and 3 another day. I tried it in practice tests, but my scores were really bad. I would have given that one back.

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jks289
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby jks289 » Wed May 12, 2010 6:34 pm

BobSacamano wrote:
jks289 wrote:I had no idea people actually objected to the idea of giving disabled students extra time. I can understand wanting strict controls on who is able to secure the accommodation. But the idea that students with demonstrated and legitimate issues shouldn't be accommodated seems ridiculous.

In case I wasn't clear, this pretty much exactly where I fall. It's life living on the curve, man. What's good for someone else is bad for me. I hate it.


Welcome to the real world, Bob. Accommodation of "others" (disabilities, religious beliefs, etc) is a core principal in the founding of this country. In fact, it's legally mandated.

I don't receive any additional time or accommodation, but I have had to deal with a serious (mercifully non-permanent) brain injury. People with disabilities succeed in spite of their challenges, not because they are given an extra hour on an exam. I'm sure they would gladly trade their extra exam time for a life free of academic struggle, and the countless extra hours spent reading and studying.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Wed May 12, 2010 6:38 pm

If y'all want something to bitch about: ESL students also get extra time in some instances.

GO!

hubtubrub
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby hubtubrub » Wed May 12, 2010 6:40 pm

wait, so biglaw firms hire people with disabilities? Does the ABA require them too?

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apper123
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby apper123 » Wed May 12, 2010 6:43 pm

my doctor over the summer told me thought i had ADD... i said whatever whether i do or i dont it doesnt matter... it's my personality and a part of me and i need to learn to adapt (and i clearly have).

if i had an extra 1.5 hours on exams? holy crap... i'd cali every class. i think the same goes for anyone else who would otherwise be reasonably in the top 15-20%. i dont know anyone at my school who gets extra time.

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SamSeaborn2016
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby SamSeaborn2016 » Wed May 12, 2010 6:45 pm

mikeytwoshoes wrote:
icydash wrote:
mikeytwoshoes wrote:They will take fewer assignments and complete them in the allotted time.

I'm not sure this is entirely accurate. You are usually given your assignments by partners... not able to "choose how many you want to take" and which ones you want to take. Also I'd imagine having a disability would be tough in terms of hiring.... I'd imagine that for a firm that makes money based on how many hours they bill, they'd want the most efficient people possible in terms of completing assignments on time, etc...

This is a tough topic to be on either side for; I can see arguments for both sides.

EDIT: the above comments are regarding mental disabilities only.


ABA has been putting firms on notice that they need to hire and accommadate lawers with disabilities. I agree with you that firms will normally want the most effective lawyers but they must comply with the law just like the law schools. For someone like me, partners will have to learn they can't force us to do more than we are physically capable of doing.

Everyone will be happy to know that LSAC, law schools, and ABA are notoriously stingy with accommodations. The ABA has an online forum for students with mental and physical disabilities. LSAC and ABA asked one girl for test results that no doctor within three states could provide. What's worse is that the test they asked for was not even related to her disability. I personally had to submit to a three hour psych test to prove i could read. Four years of undergrad couldn't prove it but three hours with psychiatrist's assistant could.

You will be unhappy to know that because of this stinginess, there is a general guideline that you ask for more than you need, so that they can deny something. It makes them feel good about their job. :wink: I personally asked to take 2 sections of the LSAT one day and 3 another day. I tried it in practice tests, but my scores were really bad. I would have given that one back.


The bolded is definitely credited. ABA set up a commission just a few years ago. NALP also contains employment data for partners and associates with disabilities but so much of it is self-reported I doubt the accuracy of the numbers. Regardless, people with disabilities (physical and otherwise) are definitely under-represented in the legal field. There is actually an annual career fair in DC specifically for lawyers and law students with disabilities as well.

--LinkRemoved--

If you look at previous years employers you will see some big firms as well as a number of government agencies in attendance.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Wed May 12, 2010 6:49 pm

hubtubrub wrote:wait, so biglaw firms hire people with disabilities? Does the ABA require them too?

I only know of one biglaw firm that had a lawyer with disabilities. Skadden has a disability rights fellowship. ABA does not but they cannot discriminate against people with disabilities under the ADA. ABA has been telling schools and firms to make the profession more accessible.

BobSacamano
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby BobSacamano » Wed May 12, 2010 6:49 pm

jks289 wrote:Welcome to the real world, Bob. Accommodation of "others" (disabilities, religious beliefs, etc) is a core principal in the founding of this country. In fact, it's legally mandated.

I don't receive any additional time or accommodation, but I have had to deal with a serious (mercifully non-permanent) brain injury. People with disabilities succeed in spite of their challenges, not because they are given an extra hour on an exam. I'm sure they would gladly trade their extra exam time for a life free of academic struggle, and the countless extra hours spent reading and studying.

Don't disagree with any of this in the least, just offering the other side of the coin. I actually have a mental disorder myself (OCD, which I tend to think actually has helped me academically, to be totally honest, although not in a pleasant way). I'm just avoiding studying for civ pro.
Last edited by BobSacamano on Wed May 12, 2010 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Wed May 12, 2010 6:54 pm

apper123 wrote:my doctor over the summer told me thought i had ADD... i said whatever whether i do or i dont it doesnt matter... it's my personality and a part of me and i need to learn to adapt (and i clearly have).

if i had an extra 1.5 hours on exams? holy crap... i'd cali every class. i think the same goes for anyone else who would otherwise be reasonably in the top 15-20%. i dont know anyone at my school who gets extra time.

It's actually really easy to psych yourself out about the extra time. For instance, if you finish early, there is a temptation to go back and find errors. As you analyzed them the first time, you understood them one way, but when you go back, your mental context changes. This could just be me, but it's really easy to mistake the proper place for detail.

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apper123
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby apper123 » Wed May 12, 2010 6:55 pm

mikeytwoshoes wrote:
apper123 wrote:my doctor over the summer told me thought i had ADD... i said whatever whether i do or i dont it doesnt matter... it's my personality and a part of me and i need to learn to adapt (and i clearly have).

if i had an extra 1.5 hours on exams? holy crap... i'd cali every class. i think the same goes for anyone else who would otherwise be reasonably in the top 15-20%. i dont know anyone at my school who gets extra time.

It's actually really easy to psych yourself out about the extra time. For instance, if you finish early, there is a temptation to go back and find errors. As you analyzed them the first time, you understood them one way, but when you go back, your mental context changes. This could just be me, but it's really easy to mistake the proper place for detail.


if there's no word limit ill just keep writing about every ambiguity of the law i can possibly imagine (this is basically what i do anyways since i type quickly and it works out well)

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SamSeaborn2016
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Re: extra time on exams for disabilities

Postby SamSeaborn2016 » Wed May 12, 2010 6:58 pm

mikeytwoshoes wrote:
hubtubrub wrote:wait, so biglaw firms hire people with disabilities? Does the ABA require them too?

I only know of one biglaw firm that had a lawyer with disabilities. Skadden has a disability rights fellowship. ABA does not but they cannot discriminate against people with disabilities under the ADA. ABA has been telling schools and firms to make the profession more accessible.



I wasn't aware of Skadden's disability specific fellowship but a number of other firms such as Perkins Coie and Kirkland & Ellis offer diversity fellowships that include language pertaining to those with disabilities.




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