MINNESOTA BOARD OF LAW EXAMINERS' POLICY ON APPLICANTS WITH DISABILITIES

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POLICY

The Minnesota Board of Law Examiners ("Board") welcomes persons with disabilities to use the services of the Board.  Reasonable testing accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities.  The office of the Board is fully accessible, as is the St. Paul RiverCentre, the usual location of the bar exam and admission ceremony.  The Minnesota Bar Examination is a two-day long, six-hour per day, timed test.  The first day consists of one performance test question (MPT) and six essay questions.  The second day consists of 200 multiple-choice questions (MBE).  The bar exam is designed to test the knowledge and skills necessary for one who seeks admission to the practice of law.  The Board is a "public entity" covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").

It is the policy of the Board to administer the bar examination and all other services of this office in a manner that does not discriminate against qualified applicants with disabilities.  A qualified applicant with a disability who is otherwise eligible to take the bar examination, but who cannot demonstrate under standard testing conditions that he/she possesses the knowledge and skills to be admitted to the Bar of the State of Minnesota, may request reasonable testing accommodations.

The Board will make reasonable modifications in any policies, practices, and procedures which might otherwise deny equal access to individuals with disabilities.  Such modifications will be made unless a fundamental alteration in the examination or other admission requirements would result.  In order to accomplish this, the Board will furnish additional testing time, as well as auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication. Charges will not be assessed to individuals with disabilities to cover the costs of reasonable accommodations.

Individuals with disabilities will not be tested separately from other examinees, unless necessary to ensure that the test is equally effective for all examinees.  If the individual prefers not to accept a reasonable accommodation, the Board will not require that the accommodation be accepted.

 

DEFINITIONS

"Disability" means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the applicant and substantially limits the ability of the applicant to demonstrate, under standard testing conditions, that the applicant possesses the knowledge, skills and abilities tested on the Minnesota State Bar Exam.

"Physical impairment" means a physiological disorder or condition or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the body's systems. "Mental impairment" means a mental or psychological disorder such as organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, attention deficit disorder and specific learning disabilities.  "Qualified applicant with a disability" means an applicant with a disability who with reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices; the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids and services; is capable of demonstrating that he/she possesses the knowledge, skills and abilities tested on the Minnesota Bar Exam, and set forth in the Essential Eligibility Requirements of the practice of law in Minnesota.  (Rule 5A)

"Reasonable accommodation" means an adjustment or modification of the standard testing conditions that ameliorates the impact of the applicant's disability without fundamentally altering the nature of the examination, or the Board's ability to determine whether the applicant possesses the essential eligibility requirements for the practice of law in Minnesota without imposing an undue burden on the Board, and without compromising the security and validity of the examination.

 

REQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATIONS

A complete Application for testing accommodations must be submitted along with the application for admission on or before the application filing deadline on forms prescribed by the Board describing the disability, the accommodations requested, and how the accommodation will ameliorate the applicant's disability.  A statement from the applicant's treating physician or licensed treating professional must be included.  Medical or other documentation is considered to be current in most instances if less than three years old.  An application for testing accommodations is considered incomplete if its supporting documentation does not accompany the application. An application is timely if received on or before the filing deadline.

The Director will review requests for testing accommodations on a case-by-case basis and may request additional documentation. The Director may at the Board's expense forward the applicant's records to a medical or other specialist for an evaluation at the expense of the Board.  The Director will issue a written statement granting, denying, or modifying the request for accommodation.  When denied or modified, the applicant may appeal the Director's decision by submitting a written request for review within five (5) business days of receipt of the Director's decision.

 

APPEALS

An applicant who is adversely affected by the Director's denial or modification of request for testing accommodation may appeal to the President of the Board or designee by submitting a written request for review and hearing within five (5) business days of the applicant's receipt of the Director's notice of denial or modification.  An expedited hearing before the President or designated member of the Board will be scheduled in response to applicant's request for appeal The hearing will be conducted by telephone conference within ten (10) business days of receipt of the request for hearing. 

Written notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing will be sent to the applicant. The applicant may be represented by counsel, and may call witnesses whose testimony cannot be provided in affidavit form.  The expedited hearing will be tape-recorded and a copy of the tape will be provided to the applicant upon request.

Upon the conclusion of the expedited hearing, the President or designee will prepare brief written findings of fact and determination.  A copy will be mailed to the applicant by regular mail within five (5) business days of the hearing. The applicant may appeal the written decision to the Board by making a written request pursuant to the hearing procedures set forth in Board Rule 15.

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If you have any questions about the Board's policies with respect to reasonable accommodations in testing, you should call Margaret Fuller Corneille, Director, or Terri Guertin, Bar Admissions Administrator of the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners, at:

(651) 297-1857
TDD users:  (651) 297-5353 or
800-627-3529 and ask for (651) 297-1857 (in greater Minnesota).

You may also call the United States Department of Justice ADA information line at:

1-800-514-0301
TDD- 1-800-514-0383

 

 

Download Special Accommodation Forms: 

  • Form A :  Reasonable Testing Accommodations Questionnaire -- to be
    completed by all applicants who request reasonable testing accommodation

Form A is a computer fill-in form and can be completed
using Microsoft Word 97 or a higher version of Microsoft Word.

  • Form B :  Disability Documentation -- to be completed by a physician or licensed professional for each applicant.
  • Form B-LD:   Supplemental Documentation for Learning Disabilities -- to be completed by licensed professional of applicant requesting accommodation
    due to a learning disability other than AD/HD.
  • Form B-AD/HD:  Supplemental Documentation for Learning Disabilities - to be completed by licensed professional of applicant requestion accommodation
    due to a learning disability of AD/HD.
  • Form C:   Law School Statement regarding Testing Accommodations
    Granted -- to be completed by law school for applicants who received accommodations during law school.