The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) paid a $7.73 million penalty to the Department of Justice on Tuesday, according to Inside Counsel. The fine was for discriminatory testing policies. The LSAC administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
The penalty was paid to settle a lawsuit that stems from the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the lawsuit filed by the DOJ, the LSAC denied accommodations to test takers suffering from a disability on multiple accounts. The lawsuit stated that these practices occurred even when the person taking the test had a permanent disability or paperwork documenting the request. The DOJ lawsuit stated that the grades of students who received extra time due to a disability were flagged by the LSAC.
“This landmark agreement compels systemic reforms to LSAC’s treatment of test takers with disabilities and brings an end to LSAC’s stigmatizing practice of flagging the score reports of individuals with disabilities who require certain testing accommodations,” Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Jocelyn Samuels, said in a press release. “If entered by the court, this decree will impact tens of thousands of Americans with disabilities, opening doors to higher education that have been unjustly closed to them for far too long.”
LSAC did not admit fault, according to the terms of the settlement, but the council agreed to end its flagging practices of students who receive extra time for a disability. The council also agreed that it would create other internal policies to rid itself of discriminatory practices.
The original case against LSAC was filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) for 12 disabled students in 2012.
Phyllis W. Cheng, the Director of the DFEH, told Inside Counsel the following in an interview:
“Because the LSAT is the only test used for law school admission, denying disabled test takers a level playing field shuts off their opportunity to become lawyers, which is a disservice to them and to our society,” Cheng said.