Ah, the LSAT. Reading comprehension. Logical reasoning. Logic games. Some of us look back on that dear test with fondness. After all, who needs Sudoku when you've got ordering games or, gasp, limited options. Yeah, limited options. Good times.
Do you remember your first time fighting through one of those games? Did you try to force your way through it without drawing diagrams? You probably got somewhere around 20 percent of the questions right on odds alone. We all did.
Imagine then, that you are legally blind. How then do you complete those god-forsaken (or mentally titillating) logic games? Do those really even have anything to do with being a lawyer? LSAC: WHY DO YOU HATE US SO MUCH?!?
Angelo Binno is a legally blind law school applicant. He, quite understandably, is miffed over the required games. After all, the presence of the games essentially kills any blind person's chance at succeeding on the test. Doing as any prospective or current lawyer would do, he filed suit against the American Bar Association, arguing that the implementation of the LSAT violated the ADA by discriminating against the disabled.
Fair enough. It seems like a plausible enough suit if you consider the disparate impact that the test's design would have on the disabled and the inability to reasonably accommodate certain disabilities. The tenuous link between logic games and law school further helps such a suit, as that undermines any compelling interest argument.
After all, ADA regulations addressing post-secondary educational tests require that test providers "offer such examinations or courses in a place and manner accessible to persons with disabilities or offer alternative accessible arrangements for such individuals."
Binno still lost. The district court held that he was probably aiming his consternation at the wrong party, as he failed to allege that the ABA directed the LSAC to include games on the test. Furthermore, the ABA doesn't require law schools to specifically use the LSAT (though they do require a reputable aptitude test) in making admissions decisions. The case was dismissed in the name of standing.
Currently, the appeal is in briefing for Sixth Circuit review. As always, when the decision is released, we'll bring you the final word.
- Binno v. The American Bar Association (U.S. District Court E.D. Mich.)
- ABA Standards Review Committee to Offer Two Alternate Approaches to LSAT Requirement (ABA Journal)
- Is the Law School Admission Test Discriminatory? (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)