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Beyond the ADA: How Clinics Can Assist Law Students with 'Non-Visible' Disabilities to Bridge the Accommodations Gap Between Classroom and Practice


Alexis Anderson


Boston College - Law School

Norah Wylie


Boston College - Law School

March 1, 2012

Clinical Law Review, Vol. 15, No. 1. pp. 1-53, 2008
Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 154
NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 07/08-30

Abstract:     
This article examines how best to educate law students with disabilities so that they can successfully transition from classroom to practice. At the very time that the importance of experiential learning is being trumpeted as critical to the preparation of all law students for practice, all too little attention has been given to the role of clinical education in helping students with non-visible disabilities succeed in their chosen careers. Increasingly, law students are seeking accommodations for a range of mental health, cognitive, and learning disabilities. Law schools have become more adept at providing accommodations in academic classes to qualified students with documented disabilities. Note-takers, special testing and attendance rules, and access to academic support programs are common features of most law schools' disability law protocols. But, how best can we help prepare these students for the demands of practice?

Until now, law faculty have lacked guidance on this important topic. This article seeks to fill that gap by studying how law school clinics and accommodations officers can assist students as they begin practice. First we explore the limits of protections afforded by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), after acknowledging that its employment provisions apply to clinics. We then review two case studies built on our clinical experience in an effort to develop best practices for law faculty and administration in helping these students overcome the accommodations gap between classroom and practice.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 55

Keywords: ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, legal education, clinical practice, clinical experience

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Date posted: April 16, 2008 ; Last revised: December 10, 2012

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Alexis and Wylie, Norah, Beyond the ADA: How Clinics Can Assist Law Students with 'Non-Visible' Disabilities to Bridge the Accommodations Gap Between Classroom and Practice (March 1, 2012). Clinical Law Review, Vol. 15, No. 1. pp. 1-53, 2008; Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 154; NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 07/08-30. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1120976

Contact Information

Alexis Anderson (Contact Author)
Boston College - Law School ( email )
885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
617-552-0952 (Phone)
Norah Wylie
Boston College - Law School ( email )
885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
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