Getting ready for the LSAT? Use my day-by-day study plans and free LSAT videos to stay on track.

Save time by instantly downloading LSAT PrepTest PDFs and explanations.

April 26, 2012

Guy Sues LSAC For Refusing Double-Time LSAT Accommodations


LSAT Blog LSAT Accommodations: Double Time LSAT
Nathan F., a law student in Massachusetts, wants to transfer to a better law school.

Unfortunately, he has learning disabilities that limit his ability to do well on the LSAT. He's also got ADHD, anxiety disorder, OCD, and mild depression. When he applied for LSAT accommodations, he was granted 50% extra time on the LSAT.

However, even with this extra time, he didn't do so hot on the LSAT the two times he's taken it. Despite lots of studying, he scored only 150 on the December 2010 LSAT and 151 on the February 2012 LSAT.

This likely resulted in Nathan's rejections from both Georgetown and Fordham. Nathan went to Brown for undergrad and both Brown and Harvard for grad school, so his parents must have been pretty disappointed. They probably expected him to achieve better than the median LSAT score and end up at a Top 14 law school.

A variety of psychologists, psychiatrists, specialists, etc. have evaluated him, and they all reached the conclusion that 50% extra time isn't enough - they say he needs double time.

Prior to taking the LSAT a second time, Nathan appealed LSAC's decision to give him "only" 50% extra time, but LSAC's general counsel denied his request without an explanation. He's gotten double time on law school exams, the GMAT, and other standardized tests.

A description of Nathan's conditions, from his attorney's complaint suing for double-time on the LSAT as part of his LSAT accommodations (PDF):

Nathan’s ADHD and learning disabilities began interfering with his access to school work in middle school. To compensate, he received various remedial services, including extensive tutoring throughout high school. Even in high school, he was frequently the last to complete examinations. 
In addition and secondary to his learning and attention disorders, Nathan has developed and has been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Depressive Disorder, and Anxiety Disorder. These disorders take the form of obsessions - recurrent and persistent intrusive thoughts (and sounds) that do not represent actual life problems. Nathan has been treated with medication for these disorders for several years.  
In college Nathan avoided classes with examinations, when possible; when he did take college examinations, he was often given additional time to finish. He was often the last student to finish.  
During college examinations, Nathan relied on somatic routines such as biting his nails or picking his fingers throughout the examination to help focus himself. These physically and mentally exhausting somatic routines are manifestations of Nathan’s disabilities. Despite his disabilities, Nathan has achieved considerable academic success due in large part to test and assignment modifications that accommodated his disabilities and allowed him to demonstrate his knowledge and understanding of the material.


So, what do you think? Does he deserve to be granted double-time on the LSAT, or is 50% extra time more than enough?

***

Further reading:

US District Court: District of Massachusetts: Nathan F., Plaintiff v. Law School Admission Council, Inc., Defendant [Complaint - PDF]

Would-Be Transfer Student with Emotional and Learning Disabilities Sues for LSAT Accommodations [ABA Journal]

Should ADD Test-Takers Get Double-Time on the LSAT? [LSAT Blog]

Should Nursing Moms Get Extra Time on the LSAT? [LSAT Blog]

How to Apply for Extra Time on the LSAT (1st of a series) [LSAT Blog]

Photo by tonivc



34 comments:

  1. So this guy had almost 5-6 hours to complete the LSAT? I wonder what he got on his untimed practice exams. That might shed better light into his actual ability on the LSAT

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why not! He should be given double time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. so should he be given double time in a real trial at court? Be realistic

      Delete
    2. Ever thought that this guy might not want to be a trial lawyer? There are other things you can do with a JD besides be a gunner at life...or in a court room.

      Delete
    3. These exams are not anything like a trial or other responsibilities an attorney would face. In fact, many attorneys and other law school students like me are A.D.D. or AD/HD. I have seen one court opinion that sounds much like your offensive (btw) comment where the concern of allowing accommodations on these tests (LSAT, law school finals, Baby Bar, and Bar) means we might take double time working with clients. This is a ludicrous assumption as most people with my condition are extremely fast in the workplace. You simply cannot associate a test where there is a clock ticking on the screen that continues to distract coupled with extreme test anxiety with how a person performs in a professional situation.
      Understand, that this diagnosis does not mean we are stupid or lazy or slow. I understand all that I have learned this year and have excellent grades (no accommodation in place). Today, I had a Torts exam (2 cases) & the hour allotted goes quickly. 5 minutes to read, 5 minutes on issues/outline, 10 minutes to write issues and rules of law. Analysis of facts and relate to elements as follows: Product Liability, Battery, Causation (2 types), Damages (3 ), Negligence, Duty, Breach, Causation/ Damages (can somewhat condense hereafter as defined & discussed supra), Breach of Implied Warranty-Merchantability, Causation/ Damages, Strict Liability in Tort, Causation/Damages. Lawsuit 2 same issues save Battery. That is 14 whole issues (for both suits) to analyze & 8 or 9 that condense (so about 5 minutes on those). Thus, 35 minutes remains equaling 2.5 minutes to analyze and relates the facts to each issue. I ran out of time. That is so frustrating; I cannot even begin to express it. I work best under pressure in the workplace and at home. NOT on tests. Weird, but it has always been so for me.
      So, now that I have explained the test, I asked for an additional hour or about 4 more minutes per issue. I did not receive my accommodation b/c my doctor could not complete one sentence on how much time to give (though he agreed I needed it). I prepped for this accommodation 2.5 months ago, was assured he could do it in 2 weeks, and paid for both the consultation and paperwork. After multiple excuses, ignored phone calls, several trips to the office in person, an offer to provide him research and an offer of help from an expert (doctor w/ 20 yrs. on the accommodation board for CAL Bar), the incomplete form was submitted w/o consideration of provided research nor the call to aforementioned expert after 7 weeks. After further promises to remedy the problem, he gave up/would not complete it last Friday. During this time, I was not idle. There was extensive studying, dealing w/ the doctor, 12 calls to other doctors who could not help timely (understandable), working, caring for an elder with dementia, and marital & life responsibilities.
      Further, I have an A.A. and a B.A. and had no accommodations. I love the law and my life and am not complaining (well, about the doctor I am). This is meant as picture of what it is like for a typical law student as well as what it is like to have a challenge that exacerbates the typical stress. This gentleman who wants an extra hour for the LSAT, a 5 hour exam, is not asking much. And to the one below this saying a half hour does not establish a difference; it looks like you may be projecting what may not think you cannot do on those who can. EVERY second counts on these exams. He will do just fine in law school.
      How many of you taken the LSAT, gone to law school, or are practicing attorneys? Are the judgments the result of a disdain for lawsuits, the profession in general, or a real attack on something we do not control? Regardless, it matters not as I control my goals as does this gentleman.

      Delete
  3. If he can't do it in 1.5x time he can't do it in 2x.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Is he going to get double time in court while trying cases too?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's not the first person to receive double time, let alone extended time, and there doesn't seem to be anyone disputing that. I'd say that unless you take away all extended time from the LSAT you won't achieve that. And that would violate federal law.

      Delete
  5. I'm all about reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities -- it's only fair. But at some point a disability is exactly that -- a person is not able to do something. If you are in a wheelchair, you can't be a flight attendant. Nathan's success is notable but I think it's time for him to find a better suited career.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So he can't be a lawyer because he's depressed and has some ADHD? Nothing wrong with a little extra time. I'm jealous, but I'm not getting pissed about it. I don't care if people take adderall to study, even if it means they can study double the amount as I can. Please don't tell me you have never done anything to get ahead--ever. We've all been there. Let him learn from his own mistakes if you think he's doing anything wrong.

      Delete
  6. This is nonsense. If you can't get your ADHD and OCD under control with medication, you certainly shouldn't be entitled to do whatever work you please. The kid already got into Brown and Harvard by milking his disabilities to take standardized tests without time limits I'm sure. How many qualified people will get screwed bc he isn't equipped to compete on an even playing field? This really gets me. I'm about to go get diagnosed, too, bc we all know how easy it is in this day and age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you're going to give this guy grief for what you describe as "milking" his disabilities, then go get yourself diagnosed because it's "easy"? Whether or not he has a disability may be questioned. Whether or not you have any integrity whatsoever is no longer up for debate.

      Delete
  7. You think it's a coincidence that every "disability" this guys has falls on the list of most over-diagnosed? He has depression and anxiety... so does half of the country. He has ADHD... the "i'm bored and have a hard time paying attention to boring material" disorder. And OCD... poor kid can't stop biting his fingernails. SMH. Why not just let him skip school and become whatever he wants since he was cursed with such terrible afflictions? PLEASE. I knew a guy with ACTUAL schizophrenia that didn't ask for extra time. This guy doesn't belong in law school period. He's worked the system enough.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Who doesn't have test anxiety? He doesn't deserve one second of extra time, regardless of his inability to focus. It's a hard exam on everybody. This clown may as well be saying, "I wanna be a pro football player. So everybody needs to slow down and not hit me so hard becuz it's not fair."

    Enroll in a lesser school, moron, or go do something else.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, reading all of these caustic comments is not making me excited to be in a classroom full of you folks. I'm taking a guess here that none of you are going into public interest law, well, because you're assholes.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The law is clear. Individuals with disabilities deserve protection by the ADA. If you don't like the ADA because you think it's abused, ask Congress to repeal it.

    If the LSAT measures anything but diligence, extra time won't matter anyway. If you can't figure out the LSAT you can sit there for hours and it won't matter, which is why the test should have no time limit.

    This is about accommodating disability. Most of the posters seem jealous, but we don't know the circumstances.

    Also, the LSAT is a new invention. Prior to the 80s, the entrance to law school was pretty much based off grades and where you went to undergrad. So if he were living in the 1950s, he probably would have gotten into any number of law schools based on that alone. Are we better off now that 75% of the admission decision is based off the test?

    Harry Blackmun, Warren Burger, and Byron White all probably never even took the LSAT but they were all brilliant Supreme Court justices. Should we perhaps say that their work was a sham because they didn't take the LSAT? I don't know this for a fact, but I highly doubt that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, or even Antonin Scalia took the LSAT in its current form (if they took it at all). So who is to judge? Everyone should be allowed to "prove" or demonstrate their abilities in different ways, and the LSAT is only one way.

    ReplyDelete
  11. ^^^ that's great, but it's irrelevant to the fact that admissions ARE based on a test that this guy has tried to circumvent. Furthermore, I see no real disabilities to be honest. If we were to travel back to the 50's as suggested, this guy would be labeled dumb, not disabled. True story. The ADA doesn't need to be repealed, but it clearly needs to be reformed if these are the reasons one can get double time. And I think the poster a few back is confusing jealousy with outrage. I doubt people are jealous that this dude cannot compete on an equal level; it's that he doesn't have to compete on the same level bc a dr told him he has anxiety, depression, add, and OCD. Since so much is put into the LSAT, the only thing he has demonstrated is that he doesn't belong in law school by the current standards.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "This guy has tried to circumvent" is a baseless assumption. If you've learned anything in law school, which I presume you aren't in, you should realize that you need evidence to evaluate claims.

    I'm certainly glad you aren't a federal judge, because if you were, and you went into a case thinking or presuming that the claim is baseless then you have serious issues of bias.

    "Furthermore, I see no real disabilities to be honest." That's a factual issue, and I don't think you have the credibility to assess that. Are you a neuropsychologist, and do you have any way to assess the factual veracity of disability other than your own perceptions of what you think they are? However, facts aside, the ADA actually covers psychiatric disabilities so as a matter of law alone, if those are proven, then the claim is valid.

    "If we were to travel back to the 50's as suggested, this guy would be labeled dumb, not disabled". Besides the fact you didn't address the fact that one can be a lawyer and demonstrate one's abilities in different ways, I'll go on to addressing my next point which is that you're reading is obviously worse than his...and I hope you take a reading comprehension course or maybe you simply don't have the skills to evaluate legal claims. For instance, the complaint never said he got accommodations for entrance into Harvard or Brown. Perhaps he didn't experience psychiatric issues or his learning disabilities didn't become evident until later, which is pretty common especially among psychiatric. There are many people who only develop ADHD as an adult when coming up against challenges that used to be very easy to surmount. In any case, you falsely assume that he was admitted without basis.

    However, again let me point out that there are hundreds of students who GET ADMITTED to Harvard College on the basis of disability. Affirmative action is another example where the Supreme Court has held consistently that it is legal so long as the university does not proscribe a specific formula awarding "points" for racial/ethnic balancing. There are many students at Harvard undergrad (or Brown) who have low SATs, and some even have both low SATs and grades. This is because colleges and institutions are looking for people, not robots such as yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yeah, i agree totally with the poster above. the insecurity most people have about the extra time issue in general seems to relate to the fact that they think their performance is...premised on time. in other words, being faster is a proxy for brilliance. that itself isn't true since only half of IQ tests are even based off "performance". in fact, a lot of people in neuroscience question the validity of "performance" as a component of intelligence at all since one can train for this through improving working memory, etc.

    i kind of doubt einstein who had learning disabilities came to a rapid conclusion about the theory of relativity although maybe he did.

    the diligent but not too bright lawyer (which is what the LSAT seems to test) may not be the only type of lawyer who qualified to practice...law professors for example might be very slow but are great at analyzing in larger contexts

    i think that even if we concede the lsat tests diligence and that's an important component, it doesn't seem to take into account people who have no interest in working in fast-paced law firms with major deadlines. even then id say the test has serious reliability predictions

    ReplyDelete
  14. "I hope you take a reading comprehension course or maybe you simply don't have the skills to evaluate legal claims." This is pure ad hominem BS that demonstrates your insecurity with your own argument. In fact, your main focus seems to be on the poster and not their argument. (You even go so far to quote the post, then totally fail to address what you quoted.) So while you may think your reading comprehension is superior to the poster's (or that his or hers is somehow inferior), you have not demonstrated that in the slightest. "For instance, the complaint never said he got accommodations for entrance into Harvard or Brown." No it does not. It says, "He's gotten double time on law school exams, the GMAT, and other standardized tests." So, if you were as smart as you try to front, you would be able to make the logical leap that at least one (if not both) of his admissions was influenced by these scores. Speaking of assumptions, you say, "Perhaps he didn't experience psychiatric issues or his learning disabilities didn't become evident until later..." Seems like a far greater assumption than anything you tried (and failed) to attack about the previous poster's comments. Again, you attack the poster by stating, "This is because colleges and institutions are looking for people, not robots such as yourself." Your PC, wannabe "lawerly" response shows who is truly the robot. You're the little nerd who never got any girls (or guys), and you feel confident attacking someone sharing their opinion behind your computer screen. Does it feel good to be personally attacked without regard for the argument? Because while you may assume that the poster's reading comp is sub-par, there is "factual veracity" to the claim that you are a loser who needs a course in social interaction and some experience in the real world. ONE YOSELF, CLOWN.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now, you are not even making sense. That poster you are being rude to made some valid points. It is FACT that your assertions were at times false. In general, if you are going to opine that is your right. You do come over hypocritical, ridiculous, and ignorant. If you are in law school; you know better.

      And, when you attack me for saying so as you have evinced is your nature, please include how it is impossible for the poster to be anywhere else than behind a PC. Oh, and please expand on the "social interaction" course that has been such a benefit to yourself.

      Delete
  15. "I wanna be a pro football player. So everybody needs to slow down and not hit me so hard becuz it's not fair." Perfect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More ignorance, but at least the attempt to cover it in an analogy that is interesting is commendable. Still, nothing to do with it.

      Let's look at something different than grad school as for some reason that is angering people though the accommodation is simply for an hour on an exam (all cases are not the same, but a half hour or hour is typically what AD/HD accommodation provides).

      Anyway, let's go backward in time. How about a 7 year old who is gifted (that is how I always tested) and moved into classes that challenge them more? This is another way to help this condition though these posters are stuck in a false assumption that the AD/HD diagnosis means stupid and lazy. It does not. What was said in another post about boredom existing due to subject matter is not true. I am bored with dumb arguments, but I purposely challenge myself to something harder each time and am not BORED in law school. But, I digress obviously.

      So, back to the 7 year old who is in the gifted program, but has AD/HD. Also, let's assume parents ensure that assignments are done timely, etc. This bright child will still likely face behavioral issues b/c despite the extra work, the mind still runs constantly. Always. So, there was always (not sure about now) a chance that the behavior would negate any hard work a student had done and the child was labeled as a deviant (now I think they say "at risk" which is softer terminology, but the same result). Also, due to that constant rumination, children also experience the same insomnia that adults with the condition do. Thus, all is augmented with sleep deprivation. Are you really going to sit there and say: Oh well, tough? It is your right too, but it seems depraved.

      Life is not fair and believe me outside of this new accommodation ability, all of us are well versed in what people think. Further, I have no expectation that I am going to have an easier road. Frankly, I do not even want that. And, I am not sure why anyone thinks we have nothing to offer or do not function as everyone else must. So, my IQ is 140 something, I have excelled in my work, and am in law school. But, by the idea that underlies these insults, I should be working at McDonald's (no offense to any employment)or something less b/c I have AD/HD? All b/c I would like the extra hour at the end of the year for exams. Yeah, you said it; perfect.

      Delete
  16. "But at some point a disability is exactly that -- a person is not able to do something."

    This is the precise JACKHOLE comment that goes against our Constitutional Amendments. It is very reassuring that you JACKHOLE will ever be allowed to become an attorney. Just because the guy has a disability, does not mean that he should NOT get the full amount of time (in this case 2x) from the LSAC. The LSAC has been sued and received hundreds if not thousands of complaints a year. They are a useless, bloated, RICH, conglomerate with ZERO oversight. One of these days they will have the boot put on their neck and they will either be abolished or lose their ass and be forced to owe a HUGE payout. $$$$$

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yes, the guy should be allowed reasonable accommodations. What the LSAC gave him, IMO, is fair. If the guy wishes to practice law, he should realize that judges don't give extra time to file motions due to disability and clients sure as hell won't allow you to bill more just because it takes him longer to evaluate a case. There are occupational characteristics inherent in the legal field. If he doesn't want to be a "gunner" or practice in big law, or even in the legal field, then the law school he's currently attending is perfectly fine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be equitable if all people experienced EXACTLY the same problem. They do not. One can get by on a half hour and others ask for an hour. There are others who get triple/quadruple time.

      Again, as I have stated on previous posts, nobody is asking for accommodations in the work place. You really seriously believe that b/c I have AD/HD, I want to stand up there in court to be ridiculed by asking a judge for an extension b/c I am disabled? Besides, I would really like to know who decided I am disabled. Is it so very hard to understand that there is nothing wrong with my intelligence or ability to work (quickly, btw)? HOWEVER, tests are my nemesis. Only that. I have no issues writing up anything that has been asked of me in law school in the EXACT same time frame as a test allows. Nor, have I ever taken longer with a client in my previous careers (constant deadlines and volume and I work through it just fine) b/c of this. It is a block with tests.

      The other problem with that contention is that for it to be valid, every single attorney that was not AD/HD would have to work at exactly the same pace. And, the AD/HD attorney would have to be slower for clients to be billed more due to what you say. As a mediator, I can assure you that I am BORED a lot due to the slowness of attorneys, judges, and other third parties constantly. So, personally I would like everyone to hurry up. My future clients, should I make it through, will be dealt with fairly as I believe is my duty under the rules that govern the profession. If for some bizarre reason something actually takes me longer than it should, that would be on me.

      Delete
  18. This man has a documented disability by over four professional doctors. There is physical evidence that he has a disorder. This evidence is sufficient under the Disability Act for the plaintiff to make a claim to have extended time. If you have one leg and you are in a race with people with two legs do you think you will be just as fast as them? No. Will that person ever grow a second leg? No. Is that fair? No. The plaintiff essentially has "one leg" his disorders are legitimate and can be found in the DSMIV. His diasbility (not his intelligence) are preventing him from doing well on the test. I am sure that if he was granted the appropriate time he would get a score in the 170s. You cant be a dummie and have a dual degree from Harvard and Brown. The plaintiff was given extended time on the SAT, GMAT, and extended time on tests from high school and to undergrad to the current law school he is at. The LSAC thinks that it is promoting "fairness" but there is nothing fair about depriving a documented disabled person equal opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the apt comparison to "physical" disabilities. It is the same.

      Delete
  19. It's not a matter of deserving the accommodations; the idea of deserving here is off the mark, and it opens the door for a presumption that there is some form of favorable treatment occurring that others do not "deserve." It's a matter of needing the accommodations and the issue is in fact one of civil rights.

    Under the ADA, if you have a documented disability (and by documented I mean a diagnosis, from a doctor, not this sort of documenting through prior receipt of accommodations or irrelevant (in many cases) testing to "prove" you are disabled) the entity, and that includes LSAC, is required to accommodate.

    The appropriate remedy for a disability is not something LSAC would necessarily know in any case, nor is it really something LSAT takers and the commenters in response to your blog post would know. It's specific to the diagnosis and given that there is a diagnosis, there is no even conception of desert, but rather, only of need. So a more appropriate question would be what does the ADA and authorities on it have to say about this and under what authority is LSAC able to deny a requested accommodation.

    Disabilities that are diagnosed are not made up, and the amount of shame and stigma associated with most disabilities makes it such that no one with a diagnosis is going to request something they do not need. The idea of deserving doesn't even come close, and it in fact obscures the issue here, which is that if someone with a disability is requesting accommodations, there is a need.

    We all would like to believe a disability is something we are able to sweep under the rug or deny the reality of. Up until recently our laws and the interpretation have matched this. This is slowly beginning to turn, and I hope you will consider making changes to your blog posting consistent with the more enlightened view of disability taking shape.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Also, based on my knowledge of the suit, which is accurate, Nathan F. does not have learning disabilities. This is factually inaccurate and I suggest you remove it, for your own good. I also object to the "only" quotations. This sort of sarcastic commentary (yes, that is what "only" means) just perpetuates the disrespect and stigma individuals that suffer from disabling conditions/illnesses receive. Really, Steve, your ignorance here is astounding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree 100%. The author of this blog is completely ignorant about persons with disabilities and specifically targets those who seek testing accommodations. What's worse is that he's pushing his prejudices on an audience. I wouldn't want, or trust, this Steve Schwartz guy to "teach" me anything.

      Delete
  21. Agree with above poster. The author of this blog is clearly VERY biased with a distinct prejudice in his tone/wording against those with a disability. Its almost condescending of him to even write this.

    ReplyDelete
  22. scratch that, it IS condescending.

    ReplyDelete