Research Project: Bar Examination Accommodations for ADHD Graduates

26 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2013

See all articles by Neha Sampat

Neha Sampat

Golden Gate University - School of Law

Esme Grant

United States International Council on Disabilities

Date Written: March 10, 2011


Although generally committed to increasing diversity within the legal profession, many state bars have exacerbated the lack of diversity in the profession through inappropriate and unsupported evaluations of requests for bar exam disability accommodations. Many state bars require applicants requesting accommodations for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to provide documented history of the disorder from childhood. However, the medically-recognized diagnostic criteria do not require childhood history and, on the contrary, recognize that many people are not diagnosed until adulthood. Applicants who are older, from racial or ethnic minority backgrounds, female, from socio-economically under-privileged backgrounds, and from rural origins are less likely to have been diagnosed with ADHD in childhood. Thus, the state bars’ strict application of the childhood history requirement creates barriers to entry into the legal profession for applicants from protected classes already underrepresented in the legal profession. Moreover, these practices ultimately expose state bars to liability under recent amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as federal and state anti-discrimination laws. This presentation provides novel evidence of this injustice and sets forth specific, ground-breaking recommendations for state bars, law schools, and the ABA to end this discriminatory practice.

Keywords: legal profession, legal education, disability, accommodation, ADA, ADHD, psychology and law, race discrimination, gender discrimination, age discrimination, socio-economic, law student

Suggested Citation

Sampat, Neha and Grant, Esme, Research Project: Bar Examination Accommodations for ADHD Graduates (March 10, 2011). American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, Vol. 19, No. 4, 2011, Available at SSRN:

Neha Sampat (Contact Author)

Golden Gate University - School of Law ( email )

536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Esme Grant

United States International Council on Disabilities ( email )

1012 14th St. NW, Suite 105
Washington, DC
United States

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