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Changes coming for LSAT test to improve accessibility for visually impaired

Changes coming for LSAT tests and blind examinees
Mikael Kristenson

Michigan man, Angelo Binno, filed a lawsuit against the Law School Admission Council. That’s because the council would not give him a waiver for the analytical reasoning portion of the exam.

He said it wasn’t fair for visually impaired people because the most common way to solve the problems was to draw diagrams and pictures.

Shelesha Taylor, who also has a visual impairment, joined the lawsuit later on as an additional plaintiff.

The LSAC argued that not everyone uses diagrams on that section of the exam and some people use alternative ways to diagram.

While the LSAC maintains that it did not violate Binno’s or Taylor’s rights, they did agree to a settlement with the plaintiffs. Now the council will work with Binno and Taylor to make the exam more accessible.

“Now, once again, we’re going to have blind applicants who can be tested on their ability to study and practice law, not on their inability to draw pictures,” said Binno’s attorney, Jason Turkish.

Turkish says this is a victory not just for Binno and Taylor, but for all visually impaired applicants who have tried to take the test, but can’t because of their inability to draw.

“That’s unfair,” Binno said of the old section. “And that’s why this settlement means so much because that practice is coming to an end.”

Kristin Marcell is a spokeswoman for the council. She said the work on the exam will go beyond just the analytical reasoning section.

“Our research into alternative ways to assess analytical reasoning abilities is part of LSAC’s continuous efforts to evaluate, upgrade and improve the entire LSAT,” she said.

As part of the agreement, LSAC will complete this work within the next four years. Marcell said the council needs time for research and several stages of pilot testing and analysis.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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