We reached out to leading bar prep companies and gathered input from attorneys and bar candidates to prepare this accessibility guide. The chart below provides a quick comparison guide. Keep scrolling for individual company information and more detailed information.
Why are we doing this? Glad you asked. There are two reasons:
(1) To help bar candidates assess what company and course format will best serve their learning style and access needs.
(2) To encourage bar prep companies to provide equal access to disabled customers.
Disabled customers pay good money for these courses and deserve an equal user experience. Equal access includes:
• Activating accessibility features without requiring lengthy request forms and private medical information.
• Accurate and well-synced lecture captions available to all users.
• Availability of all course materials in formats accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and vision-impaired customers.
Several leading companies require customers to submit medical information so that the company can decide what accessibility features they deserve. That is backwards. The company should provide information to customers on course format and materials so that the customer can tell the company what accessibility modifications they require. Disabled people are the experts on their own educational access needs, especially coming off of three years of law school.
This is a living document, and we strive to keep it as up-to-date and comprehensive as possible. If you would like to offer further input or feedback on these or other companies, please e-mail us at email@example.com.
|Company||Lectures||Accommodations||Captions||Material Formats||Screen Reader Compatibility|
|Themis||Themis's video lectures are 5 to 20 minutes long.||Themis requires a request form and supporting documentation for most accessibility modifications.||Captions available to all users for most courses. The captions are mostly, but not entirely, accurate.||Several coursebooks (six for the UBE course), with all material also available to all users in PDF format.||Compatible with commonly-used screen readers.|
|Barbri||Barbri's video lectures are about four hours long.||Barbri requires a request form and supporting documentation for most accessibility modifications.||Some caption access requires an accommodation. Captions are often highly inaccurate.||Most lectures come with fillable PDFs and printed handouts.||Barbri has partnered with Usablenet to ensure their site meets WCAG 2.0 AA standards.|
|Kaplan||Live and pre-recorded course options.||Kaplan requires a lengthy request form for most accessibility modifications.||Some captions are only available by request. Captions are highly inaccurate.||Some written materials are available for download only through accessibility team.||Kaplan told NDLSA that its materials are screen reader-compatible.|
|Crushendo||Audio and PDF outlines are available.||Crushendo accommodates access needs with no paperwork required.||Illustrated outlines in video format all have human-transcribed captioning.||Audio and PDF outlines. Audio available both streaming and MP3 download format.||Users can contact Crushendo for screen-reader compatible PDFs.|
Contact Barbri at firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbri’s lectures are about four hours long.
Accommodation requests must be emailed, mailed, or faxed to Barbri with either a supporting letter from “the appropriate official at your law school or vocational rehabilitation agency” or “a doctor’s note or other medical documentation.” The request form asks for the nature of your disability as it relates to your request. Barbri wants the request form and documentation at least 90 days before the course start date.
We have received contradictory reports on captioning. Some summer 2020 users reported that they require an accommodation, are highly inaccurate, and sometimes simply read “inaudible.” Other users have reported that the captions are accurate and well-synced and do not require an accommodation. Barbri told us in December 2020 that they are working on improving their captions.
Screen reader compatibility
Barbri has partnered with Usablenet to ensure its site meets WCAG 2.0 AA standards.
Full disclosure: NDLSA has a partnership with Crushendo, but neither NDLSA nor its board members profit from the partnership. We partnered with Crushendo because of their enthusiastic commitment to accessibility, but we do not maintain it will be the best fit for every bar candidate. Our intent in this guide is to provide information that will allow bar candidates to select the course that best meets their learning style and access needs.
Contact Grant Merriam at email@example.com
Lectures are audio-only but duplicated in print form. Crushendo does not provide hard copies of written materials but users can download and print them.
Crushendo works with its customers to accommodate access needs. It does not require an application or evidence of disability.
N/A, since Crushendo does not do video lectures. However, all illustrated outlines provided on their YouTube channel have human-transcribed captioning.
Crushendo outlines are provided in both audio and written format. The audio can be accessed online or downloaded as an MP3.
Screen reader compatibility
Crushendo’s default PDF outline format is not compatible with screen readers. Crushendo will provide compatible PDFs to users who request them.
• One user expressed appreciation for Crushendo’s simple outlines, with pictures and mnemonic devices.
• Crushendo’s audio lectures are published in two versions, one with classical music in the background and the other without.
• All customers have lifetime access to course materials.
Contact Kaplan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lecture length TBD
Kaplan requires more extensive documentation than other companies. Kaplan’s request form asks customers to do the following:
(1) Describe the specific disability, as diagnosed;
(2) Describe how the official test administrator will be accommodating you on test day;
(3) Describe the specific accommodations requested from Kaplan;
(4) Describe the current functional limitations of your disability in academic or testing settings and how you have been accommodated in past educational experiences; and,
(5) Provide any applicable and relevant educational, developmental, and medical history that will assist them in understanding your specific needs. As to the fifth element, Kaplan states that you may submit a recent diagnosis, an approved accommodation form from the test maker for your exam, or have a qualified evaluator complete the relevant section of the request form.
Some closed captions are available to all customers without an accommodation request, but others require a request. Kaplan did not detail how the line was drawn. The captions are, at any rate, highly inaccurate. One user provided screen shots from summer 2020 in which the captions read “D boobs for summary judgment on the fraud claim but does not re does not move on” and “So where yesterday we talked about dead guy or test dater.”
Kaplan wrote to us: “Instructional material available on the platform can be downloaded such as ebooks. There are also other materials in Word that can be printed. Materials not available for download on the platform are available through the accessibility team.”
Screen reader compatibility
Kaplan told us that its materials are screen reader-compatible.
• All users can adjust or extend time on practice questions without an accommodation.
• Kaplan’s lecture transcripts contain minimal punctuation and paragraph breaks.
Contact Themis at email@example.com
Themis breaks each topic down into several video lectures. Each lecture is 5-20 minutes long.
Accommodation requests must be emailed, mailed, or faxed to Themis with a supporting letter from “the appropriate official at your law school or vocational rehabilitation agency,” a doctor’s note, or other medical documentation. The request form asks for the nature of disability in addition to the accommodations requested. Themis wants the request form and documentation at least 60 days before the course start date.
Closed captions are available to all customers on the website (but not the mobile app) for MPRE, MBE, MEE and CA lectures. Themis told us that “requests in other jurisdictions are captioned on a case-by-case basis.” The captions are mostly accurate, with occasional mistakes such as “tenets in common” instead of “tenants in common.”
Themis mails its users several coursebooks (six for the UBE course). All materials in the books are also available to all customers in downloadable PDF format on the course website.
Screen reader compatibility
The Themis site is compatible with commonly used screen readers.
• Text contrast settings are adjustable.
• Themis can adjust the timer for timed online tasks such as practice quizzes.
• Accommodations are available for an early course start date.
• Themis can provide lecture handouts with the blanks filled in.