The National Federation of the Blind has filed complaints with the Department of Justice against nine law schools, alleging they violate the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) by requiring that applicants use the online system at LSAC to apply to law school. The Federation maintains this is a violation of the civil rights of law school applicants who are blind.
According to The National Law Journal, "[t]he [LSAC] system is not compatible with software that vocalizes visual information or displays it in Braille for blind users, according the complaints. That means blind users cannot independently use the system."
The law schools named in the suit are the following:
- University of Chicago Law School
- Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
- John Marshall School of Law
- University of Denver Sturm College of Law
- Washington and Lee University School of Law
- University of Miami School of Law
- William Mitchell College of Law
- Gonzaga University School of Law
- Northeastern University School of Law
The National Federation for the Blind says it picked a cross-section of schools in geographically diverse areas rather than filing 160 complaints. There have been no comments from the schools' representatives thus far.
There have also been lawsuits alleging similar ADA violations regarding the administration of the LSAT (also run through LSAC) and the California Bar Exam; the former seems to still be in litigation, but in the latter case, a federal judge ruled that a test taker who was blind should be permitted to use screen-reader software on the MBE portion of the exam.
Let's hope this issue can be fixed soon and out of court; it's downright ridiculous to imagine that potential law students who are blind can't go through the admissions process at some schools without outside help.