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Messages - disabilitylaw

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Non-Traditional Students / Re: I have a documented Learning disablity
« on: April 07, 2012, 02:01:05 PM »
Hi,
I used to work at my law school's Disability Resource Program.
A learning disability will probably not affect a person's ability to do well in law school or take the bar.
If a person has sufficient documentation of said disability, that person will have accommodations in law school - more time to take the exam, a private room, or other accommodations intended to mitigate the impact of the disability.

The bar exam allows for accommodations as well, provided the person has sufficient documentation and applies in a timely fashion.

I don't think having a learning disability, in and of itself, will make a school more inclined to accept a student. There are many learning disabled students in law school.  What schools want are people who are really extraordinary - they want people who will become top-notch lawyers and judges, so they can brag about their prestigious alum. 

Think about what makes you really stand out from the rest of the applicants. Persuade the school that there IS no other "you."
If your learning disability was a significant factor in shaping you as the amazing person you are, then mention it, but don't count on schools believing that a learning disabled student adds diversity.  Disabled students in law school are more common than one might think.




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Non-Traditional Students / Re: 37 and thinking about law school....
« on: May 12, 2011, 11:18:32 PM »
Did you say you're not interested in law?
Then why the heck are you even thinking about law school?
As for the debt, it's HUGE.

Unless you're flat-out rich and bored and want to go to law school for the hell of it, you're better off not going.

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Hi psycho (interesting screen name btw).
Your juvie record shouldn't be an issue, as it should be sealed and irrelevant.
Your adult record is more likely to be an issue with the moral character application than with your law school admissions.  You don't give a lot of information about what the legal entanglements involve, but the people who review moral character can use anything on your app against you, should they choose to. Obviously this is something you need to be straightforward about in your apps.

My grandmother is from Gary Indiana. The fact that you came from that town and managed to do pretty well is a point or two in your favor. However, to be honest schools "Talk the talk" of diversity more than they "walk the walk." What schools really want, IMHO, is a student with lots of $$ to be able to finance the ever-increasing law school tuition.


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General Board / Re: Psychiatric Disability Right in Law School
« on: October 03, 2009, 02:23:18 PM »
I can tell you this: Many students at my law school with a wide variety of disabilities were permitted special accommodations in testing.  The disabilities ranged from dyslexia and severe ADD to other "unknown" disabilities.  My guess is that those who didn't discuss why they weren't taking exams with the rest of us (they got to take them later in an interview room alone) had anxiety problems or other psychiatric issues. 

If you are concerned about it, make an inquiry with the admissions office anonymously, and they should be able to give you some information.

For those who don't understand how having these issues could cause issues in taking exams, you should look on wikipedia for information about how these illnesses can affect people.

A lot of people who have disabilities look just fine to everyone else.  I know people who are almost completely blind and you can't tell by looking at them.  I know people who have had strokes, cancer, or chronic life-threatening illnesses that look great. They are in law school and trying to get through the best they can, despite these issues.

It's natural in a competitive environment like law school to assume people are using disabilities for "gain." The truth is that if you knew what most of these people were going through you wouldn't want to change places with them just to get an additional hour or a special chair or private room for an exam. 

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General Board / Re: Those who passed California Bar
« on: September 30, 2009, 03:00:13 AM »
I used BARBRI.

I also bought the PMBR CDs and flashcards and used them all the time.
Strategies and tactics for the MBE is also a useful book for practice questions.

People will say BARBRI isn't worth the cost, but it worked well. I found the daily schedule, the "homework" and the tips from the lecturers very helpful. It also helped me focus on what mattered the most on the bar. Most of the things you learn in law school aren't on the bar, and many of the bar questions will cover things that you did not learn in law school.

In addition to the BARBRI questions and answers I studied questions and model answers on the Calbar website.

I started studying right after graduation in May and took the July bar.  I don't think you need to start actually STUDYING now, but it would be useful for you to know what the essay questions look like.





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General Board / Re: Psychiatric Disability Right in Law School
« on: September 29, 2009, 03:39:31 AM »
Why would someone with bipolar depression need extra time for tests and assignments? That's an emotional disability, not learning, like ADD or Dyslexia.

I can understand how a "breakdown" may impact the need for extra time on assignments on an as-needed basis, but I believe to request consistent additional time may be using the disability to your advantage when that disability does not require extra time.

It depends upon how the disability affects the specific individual. A person applying for accommodations needs to explain the connect between his/her disability and the need for the specific accomodation. A person cannot just say "I have depression, therefore I need time and a half" - but if a person can establish that for whatever reason the depression translates into a need for accommodated time, then the person is entitled to the accomodation.


Please explain the possible connect between an emotional disorder (as opposed to learning disorder) and the need for accommodations.  I'm having trouble even thinking of a plausible connection that would justify getting extra time on an exam.

Well, I am not a psychiatrist but I do work with law students who have a vast range of disabilities.  A bipolar student cannot get accommodated time unless that person has a psychiatrist or psychologist document how that person's mental illness affects his/her ability to take tests in a standard format.

It could be because that person takes medication that extreme side effects that slow down a person's thinking.  It could be that the person has panic attacks every time that person sits down to take an exam - so that person may need more time than most students to "compose" himself/herself before taking the exam.  Keep in mind that a lot of people have learning disabilities AND mental health disabilities (e.g. dyslexia and severe anxiety). Therefore, when a person receives exam accommodations it may not be specifically because of a mental health issue.




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General Board / Re: Psychiatric Disability Right in Law School
« on: September 25, 2009, 07:14:46 PM »
What kind of psychiatric disabilities are you talking about?  I know that persons with documented (serious) learning disabilities can get extra (sometimes double) time on exams. Accommodations in law school are tricky though because there is no law that will ever make an employer give an associate extra time to finish a memo -- regardless of whether the associate has a learning disability. So I am a little cynical about the value of accommodations that could lull a person into spending lots of money on school and then being unable to actually work with the degree after graduation. It seems like a "bait and switch."

The ADA applies to businesses too. But the main thing is there are avenues that are open to you in work that are not in law schools exams. For example Iím dyslexic I type very slowly and misspell most everything, but at work I can use speech to text, proofreading or dictation that make me just as fast as anyone else (if not faster). But I canít use those in exam soft so I have to type and correct my spelling by hand (no spell check) which takes much longer.

Some schools allow students to use dictation software as an accomodation. The school I work at does.

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General Board / Re: Psychiatric Disability Right in Law School
« on: September 25, 2009, 06:56:00 PM »
Why would someone with bipolar depression need extra time for tests and assignments? That's an emotional disability, not learning, like ADD or Dyslexia.

I can understand how a "breakdown" may impact the need for extra time on assignments on an as-needed basis, but I believe to request consistent additional time may be using the disability to your advantage when that disability does not require extra time.

It depends upon how the disability affects the specific individual. A person applying for accomodations needs to explain the connect between his/her disability and the need for the specific accomodation. A person cannot just say "I have depression, therefore I need time and a half" - but if a person can establish that for whatever reason the depression translates into a need for accomodated time, then the person is entitled to the accomodation.

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Bar Exam / Did you apply for accomodations for the bar exam?
« on: May 05, 2009, 01:58:43 PM »
Hi,
I'm an old-time poster working on a new project, hence the new screen name. I'm doing a research fellowship regarding disability accommodations for the bar exam.

To that end, I would like to hear from students who have applied for accommodations, whether or not you have received the accommodations requested.

If you feel comfortable posting here about what you requested and what went right and wrong about the process, please do so.  Otherwise, if you're willing to message me personally, that would be great.

Any input you offer will be appreciated.

Thanks!




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