ADA and law schools: Down with timed exams?

by Walter Olson on July 1, 2012

When the topic of testing accommodations comes up in the Disability Law classes he teaches, Sam Bagenstos is struck at the vigor with which his students push back, finding it unfair that so many of their colleagues request and obtain extra time on exams as an accommodation to learning disabilities or other intellectual disabilities, and expressing concern about the danger that some families will be better than others at playing the system. “I believe that the solution is to give all students more time. For this reason, I give take-home exams wherever possible.” Scott Greenfield isn’t satisfied by this answer at all:

…when it comes to being a lawyer, the desirability of providing accommodations is trumped by the ability to fully, competently and ethically serve clients….

Yes, there are things that lawyers do which don’t require speedy processing, but as long as a lawyer is just as entitled to try a case as write a contract, he must be capable of doing both.

More: Paul Horwitz.

{ 4 comments }

1 Hugo S. Cunningham 07.01.12 at 6:51 pm

The extra time wouldn’t be so bad if it were flagged in the reported test results: let the viewer decide whether the grounds for extra time are reasonable. But such flagging has been zealously and successfully opposed by ADA advocates.

2 Richard Nieporent 07.02.12 at 8:38 am

Quit complaining about the fact that students who claim to have ADHD are given more time to take their exams. You’re just lucky that the Handicapper General has not mandated that all able body students be required to wear a radio to enable the government to broadcast noise in order to interrupt the thoughts of people without ADHD so that everyone can be equal.

3 Mike 07.02.12 at 10:18 am

Take home exams lead to widespread cheating, as students call each other, or actually get together in a group, to work on their exams.

4 Dale F. Ogden 07.05.12 at 5:17 pm

Let’s put it this way. As a client, I do not want to hire an affirmative action lawyer (or doctor or anything else). I want the most competent person that I can afford. I do not want an ADHD lawyer handing my legal matters and “needing more time” usually means they cost me more money, even if the ultimate outcome is the same. There should be no special accommodations for anyone for any reason.

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