Penn State Law students applaud settlement in disability case

February 13, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State Law in University Park students are thrilled to have reached an agreement with the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) to allow Ms. Jane Doe to sit for the LSAT exam with accommodations. Last year, the Third Circuit appointed the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic to represent Ms. Doe as a friend of the court. The students successfully argued that Ms. Doe’s claims fit within an exception to the mootness requirement and should proceed to trial on the merits. Third-year student law student Jennifer Bruce presented oral arguments at the Third Circuit on behalf of Ms. Doe.  

After the Third Circuit’s decision and a remand to the federal district court, a settlement agreement was reached between Ms. Doe and LSAC. Ms. Doe, who has fought for 11 years to receive disability accommodations, will be able to sit for the LSAT as soon as next month.  

“My long battle to sit for the LSAT has finally come to an end. On Feb. 22, 2020, I am finally taking the LSAT with accommodations,” said Ms. Doe. “This is what having access to justice can accomplish. Thanks to Penn State Law and Professor Foreman for allowing me one step closer to my dream of being a lawyer."

Ms. Doe’s case was part of collective work from students Bruce, Amanda Brunt, Amber Bynum, Kathryn Dutton, Caitlin Jolley, Logan Nagle and Jorge Rivera. The students, under Clinical Professor of Law Michael Foreman’s supervision, researched and analyzed strategies to provide Ms. Doe with the opportunity to take the exam and pursue her goal of becoming an attorney. After a year of advocating for Ms. Doe’s rights, students at the clinic are elated that the parties were able to resolve their differences. LSAC was equally pleased to resolve the case.

“LSAC is thankful to the clinic for its collaborative work in finding a resolution for Jane Doe that supported her while confirming LSAC’s support for candidates who qualify for test accommodations,” said Leanne Shank, LSAC’s general counsel. “LSAC has always been ready to provide test accommodations to Jane Doe if she provided the supporting documentation and is grateful to the clinic for helping her do so. I could not speak highly enough for the diligence and professionalism of the students and clinic supervisor in reaching the right result without protracted litigation.”

“It is incredibly fulfilling that our time working with Ms. Doe resulted in a positive outcome and Ms. Doe will be able to take the LSAT with the accommodations she needs. Being able to use our time at the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic to argue on behalf of Ms. Doe and facilitate a settlement certainly was an unforgettable experience in our law school careers,” said Bruce.

Brunt shared, “It is great that the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic was able to help Ms. Doe receive the appropriate accommodations on the LSAT so that she can begin to work towards achieving her goal of becoming a lawyer.”

The Civil Rights Appellate Clinic is one of nine legal clinics at Penn State Law that provides student training in appellate advocacy and writing. Students work with clients on an array of noncriminal civil rights cases before state and federal appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. In representing clients, students gain practical experience through research and analysis, drafting and editing briefs, and planning appellate strategies. 

Last Updated February 13, 2020