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A groundbreaking settlement between the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and Angelo Binno, an aspiring law student from Michigan who is legally blind, spells major changes for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). In 2016, Binno requested to have the often-complained-about analytical reasoning portion of the exam waived, as his visual impairment prevented him from using the usual method of solving the problems - drawing diagrams. At that time, he had already taken the exam twice, with the logic portion proving detrimental to his score.
Before filing suit against LSAC, Binno litigated similar claims against the American Bar Association, alleging that he had been denied admission to three law schools due to the discriminatory nature of the LSAT. The Supreme Court denied cert in Binno's case in 2017, upholding a 6th Circuit decision that he had no standing to sue the ABA since the organization neither administers nor requires the LSAT. Undeterred, Binno filed a new lawsuit against the Law School Admission Council a few months later.
Although LSAC continuously held its position that not all students solve the analytical reasoning problems through diagrams, rather than continue litigating the parties opted to work together to improve the exam for everyone. LSAC has agreed to begin research and development into alternative ways to test analytical reasoning as well as review the exam as a whole to find a better balance between accessibility and testing for the skills needed in law school.
Over the next four years, Binno and co-plaintiff Shalesha Taylor will work with LSAC to improve the test's accessibility for those who are visually impaired. Between these plans and LSAC's recent decision to make the exam entirely digital, in just a few years the LSAT will likely bear little resemblance to the one so many of us experienced. Here's hoping that change is for the better.
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