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Quick ‘Do’s and ‘Don’t’s of Accommodations

When I first arrived at law school, I knew that one of my top priorities was to talk to the disability office and request accommodations. At least my school had the decency to send out an email letting students know who to contact if they required accommodations, which eased the stress of figuring out how to apply for accommodations. I had a phone interview with the disability counselor, and he helped tell me what documents I needed to submit in support of my need for accommodations.

 

However, helpfulness does not equal transparency. While I submitted the necessary paperwork, I never actually said what the accommodations I was requesting were, and I was never asked what accommodations I was seeking. And while the testing accommodation I received was helpful, it was not comparable to past accommodations. The lack of transparency showed that I didn’t know I could specifically ask for individual accommodations, I didn’t know what type of accommodations to ask for, and I didn’t know that I could appeal the accommodation if I wasn’t happy with it. 

 

Knowing these things could have made a world of difference in my first semester 1L grades, and I don’t want anyone else to suffer from a lack of transparency the way I did.

 

As an aside, while ALL law schools should be accommodating, attending a law school with an excellent reputation for providing accommodations for students with disabilities may save a lot of stress during the accommodation process. The following are some Dos and Don’ts when applying for law school and applying for accommodations.

When applying to law school

  • DO know your rights and review the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”).
  • DO write an addendum if you feel your undergrad grades or LSAT score reflect poorly on your ability to perform due to an issue with your disability.
  • DO check out the schools you’re interested in to ensure they can fit your needs and are accessibility focused.
  • DO write about your achievements and present yourself in the best possible light in your personal statement. If you feel your disability played a significant role in making you who you are, by all means, write about it. Focusing on your disability does not always show admission offices what makes you a strong candidate for law school, but explaining how your disability has made you who you are or how you have overcome certain obstacles related to your disability may help your best traits shine.)
  • You DO NOT have to disclose to the law school that you had accommodations on the LSAT; you have the right not to disclose such information.
Upon entering law school

  • DO contact your school's disability service coordinator as early as possible.
  • DO request a one-on-one meeting with the coordinator to ensure they fully understand the scope of your disability.
  • DO ask what type of accommodations the school typically offers (for law schools, transparency on what accommodations your school most often provides is critical for incoming students with disabilities).
  • DO ask what the process for appealing is.
  • DO ask for a specific reason if your school denies an accommodation request.
  • DO appeal an accommodation denial if you believe you’re entitled to it.
  • DO NOT settle if you think you are entitled to an accommodation that has been denied.
  • You DO NOT have to disclose your accommodations to faculty or professors.
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Megyn MacMullen

Megyn MacMullen

Megyn MacMullen is the Associate Director of Law School Accommodations for NDLSA and attends Rutgers Law School, where she is co-chair of both the Public Interest Law Student Association and Street Law.

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