Accommodation policy for students with disabilities

SJCL strives to provide a legal education to all with the desire and ability to pursue the study of law.  In furtherance of this goal, and in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), SJCL provides reasonable accommodations necessary for students with documented disabilities or special needs to pursue their legal studies. While SJCL strives to accommodate students as fully as possible, reasonable adjustments or accommodations do not include measures which fundamentally alter the academic program of the school or which create an undue administrative or financial burden on the school.  It is our practice to provide accommodations, when possible, for temporary disabilities as well as permanent disabilities

The Dean for Academic Affairs is the senior administrative officer responsible for enforcement of the Accommodation Policy. The Law Coordinator shall be responsible for implementing any adjustments or accommodations made pursuant to the policy.

Definitions

A person with a disability is any person who (a) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more *major life activities; (b) has a record of such impairments; (c) is regarded as having such impairment; (d) is regarded or treated as having some condition that has no present disabling effect but may become a physical disability; or (e) has any health impairment that requires special education or related services. 
An otherwise qualified person with a disability is an individual with a disability who
meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission and participation in SJCL's educational program. 
*Major life activities, as defined by regulation, include functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

Admissions

SJCL does not discriminate on the basis of a disability in the admission process.  Any information concerning an applicant's disability provided during the admission process shall be on a voluntary or optional basis and shall be kept confidential in accordance with state and federal laws.  SJCL may use this information only for the purpose of evaluating past performance difficulties as reflected in an applicant’s academic records.  No limitations will be placed on the number or proportion of persons with disabilities who may be admitted or enrolled.  When assessing the qualifications of an applicant with a disability, evaluators consider the undergraduate record, educational program, work experience and any other information the applicant supplies.

An indication from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) that an applicant took the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) under accommodated conditions shall not be used as a basis for discrimination.  Rather, the nonstandard testing conditions shall be viewed as necessary, reasonable accommodations which have been accorded only after proper evaluation by LSAC and which do not result in an unfair advantage or inflated score.

Policy for Enrolled Students

SJCL provides appropriate, reasonable accommodations necessary to afford equal opportunity and full participation in all school-affiliated programs for qualified students with a recent professional assessment or diagnosis of a disability.  This includes participation in scholarly publications, interscholastic competitions, clinics and externships, if the student otherwise qualifies for such programs or activities.  No student organization shall discriminate in its membership practices on the basis of disability.

Accommodations, to the extent deemed reasonable and consistent with the academic program, provided for course examinations and for other procedures to evaluate a student’s academic achievement will be adapted and administered so as to minimize the effect of the disability and accurately measure the student's achievement in the course.

Procedures to Request Accommodation

It is the responsibility of a student with a disability to make a timely request for accommodation. It is recommended a student requesting an accommodation do so as soon after registration as possible. A student must notify the Law Coordinator or the Dean for Academic Affairs of the nature of the disability and provide supporting documentation for the requested accommodation.

Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Law Coordinator, to request an accommodation form.

The Law Coordinator will then provide the student with the appropriate forms to be completed and a list of documentation required to be submitted by the student and his or her licensed health care professional. Review carefully the documentation requirements for each disability as they may vary. An assessment of the appropriate accommodation will be made once all the required documentation has been submitted. It is recommended the student provide documentation of prior history of academic adjustments and accommodations received in post-secondary institutions or on the LSAT.  Such history of adjustments and accommodations will be subject to verification.

The initial request for accommodation will be subject to review by the Dean for Academic Affairs or by the Dean for Academic Affairs’ designee.  If the requested accommodation(s) includes a request for testing accommodations, SJCL strives to provide the same accommodation as would be provided by the State Bar of California. (SJCL makes no promise the accommodation will be the same as the Bar.) A personal interview may be requested. After considering the completed Form, supporting documentation, history of accommodation and results of the interview, the Dean for Academic Affairs shall determine the academic adjustments and accommodations appropriate for the student to receive, including provisional testing accommodations.

A student dissatisfied with the initial decision of the Dean for Academic Affairs may appeal such decision to the Dean.  The Dean's decision upon the request for examination or auxiliary aid accommodations shall be final.  An adverse decision by the Dean for Academic Affairs and Dean on a request for an academic program accommodation may be appealed to the Faculty Committee; the decision of the Faculty Committee shall be final.

Each student receiving academic adjustments or accommodations must immediately report any dissatisfaction with any academic adjustment or accommodation to the Dean for Academic Affairs.  SJCL may review periodically both the continuing existence of a disability and appropriateness of any adjustment or accommodation received.  Upon review, additional documentation may be requested from the student.

Reasonable academic adjustments and accommodations designed to provide equal opportunity to students with disabilities may be made in the following three areas:

Academic Program - Adjustments in this category include those necessary to enable a student to enroll  in, study for, attend and participate in classes, and may include modification of course load.  Some modifications may be restricted by the California Committee of Bar Examiners' rules regulating enrolled students.

Examinations - Examination adjustments and accommodations will be made, as necessary, to minimize the effect of a particular disability.  Any adjustments and accommodations in the conduct of an examination, which alters the form of the examination, shall be made in consultation with the faculty member or instructor of the course for which the accommodation is sought.

Auxiliary Aids - To the extent feasible, SJCL shall either provide or assist students with disabilities in acquiring educational auxiliary aids designed to enable them to participate fully in the academic program.  SJCL may do so by contacting existing resources, such as State and community agencies, private charitable organizations, and individual volunteers.

Students who improperly seek to procure, procure, or abuse adjustments or accommodations under this policy will be subject to disciplinary action under the Student Honor Code.

Records and Privacy

SJCL shall maintain confidentiality of all records and information received that relate to academic adjustments and accommodations based upon disability, including the documentation submitted to verify the disability.  Only the Dean, Dean for Academic Affairs, Law Coordinator, and Registrar shall have access to student records. Upon graduation, termination or withdrawal, these records shall be sealed in an envelope marked "Confidential" and consolidated with all other records of the student.  Such records, including supporting documentation, are, and shall remain, the property of SJCL.

Students’ names and the nature of disabilities will be kept confidential, except in cases where the information is vital to providing services and/or accommodations requested by a student. The Faculty Committee may receive such information where the disability is raised by the student as an issue in the admissions process, in an academic petition, or in an appeal.  Information may be shared with an individual professor only when necessary to determine an individualized adjustment or accommodation for a particular course.

SJCL shall assist students in documenting accommodations received during law school as an aid in requesting accommodations for bar examinations.  School records will be released, however, only with the written consent of the student.

Grievance Policy

Students, who request accommodations or adjustments from the Law Coordinator and who believe such accommodations were impermissibly denied or who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disability, should bring this matter to the attention of the Dean for Academic Affairs.  If the matter is not resolved informally by the Dean for Academic Affairs, the student may file a grievance with the Dean.