Handbook for Students With Disabilities

I. Policy Statement

It is the policy of New York Law School (NYLS) to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and various state and local requirements regarding individuals with disabilities. The Law School works with individual students as needed to provide access to services, programs, and activities at the School. All decisions regarding accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis, are based on the individual student’s documented disability, and are intended to make reasonable adjustments to enable students with disabilities to participate in the standard law school curriculum and to satisfy its requirements. The Law School does not provide accommodations that fundamentally alter its academic requirements.

II. Requesting Accommodations

After matriculation, it is the responsibility of the student to contact the Assistant Dean of Student Life to discuss accommodation requests. The student must submit a Request for Accommodations Form (your completed form and the form from your health care professional(s) with all of the necessary information and supporting documentation) to the Office of Student Life for all accommodations requested. The student must submit this form and the accompanying documentation even if the disability has been mentioned and documented in the admissions file. While we have listed below suggested time frames for submitting requests, we cannot predict the time it will take to process any particular request and recommend that requests and accompanying documentation be submitted at the earliest possible opportunity. All completed requests will be considered.

Students may be asked to meet with staff from the Office of Student Life or Academic Planning and Career Development to discuss their requests. A student wishing to make changes to their exam accommodations must file a new Request for Accommodations Form along with appropriate documentation.

Students who are granted accommodations must meet with the Assistant Dean of Student Life each year to review their accommodations. In some cases, additional documentation may be needed for accommodations to be renewed.

a. Classroom and Studying

The request form should be filled out as early as possible and at least one month prior to the start of classes. Students may be asked to meet with staff from the Office of Student Life to discuss their requests prior to the start of classes.

A student wishing to make changes to their classroom accommodations must file a new Request for Accommodations Form along with appropriate documentation.

b. Exams

Students requesting final exam accommodations must submit the Request for Accommodations Form and accompanying documentation to the Office of Student Life at least one month prior to the end of classes.

First-year students who wish to request accommodations for midterm exams must contact the Office of Student Life and submit the Request for Accommodations Form along with the appropriate documentation no later than the end of the first week of classes.

c. Visiting Students

Students visiting from another law school should complete section A of the Request for Accommodations Form. Visiting students must also provide a letter from their home school detailing the accommodations they currently receive.

III. Documentation

Documentation must be provided for any disability for which an accommodation is requested.
When requesting an accommodation, please provide substantive documentation of the disability(ies) and previous accommodations (if any) along with your completed Request for Accommodations Form. Accommodations are based upon an individual assessment of the current nature and impact of each student’s impairment. Documentation is necessary to identify that the disability is related to a barrier at NYLS and to corroborate that the requested accommodation will mediate that connection.

Documentation sources include, but are not limited to

  • Educational or medical records and reports
  • Psychoeducational and/or neuropsychological evaluations:
    – Must include adult measures, test results and analysis, and diagnosis
  • Academic/school records:
    – Standardized test scores/professor letter(s)/transcripts
    – Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
    – Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) defining special education needs and services
  • Section 504 Plan, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, identifying services
  • Teacher reports and/or observations
  • Narrative self-report

All testing and interpretation of results must be performed by a qualified, licensed professional.
Some disabilities may need verification each semester.

NYLS invites students who request reasonable accommodations to meet with the Assistant Dean of Student Life to discuss past use of accommodations and disability-related barriers they anticipate or are currently experiencing at the Law School.

Documentation relating to a request for accommodation will be reviewed by a consultant hired by New York Law School for the purpose of advising the Law School in its determination of appropriate accommodations.

IV. Accommodations Within the Academic Program

a. Classroom and Studying

For certain classroom accommodations (e.g., sitting near the front of the room), students may wish to contact the professor directly. Students may also ask the Assistant Dean of Student Life to assist them in contacting professors.

b. Exams

The format of the exam (multiple choice, closed book, or open book) may be taken into account to determine the appropriate accommodation. Accommodations for exams are made on a case-by-case basis and may vary from exam to exam and semester to semester. Documentation must be provided and in some cases may have to be updated each year or each semester.

The start and end times of exams for students who receive extra time as an accommodation may be different than the posted times for the class. Students taking evening exams will need to begin earlier than the posted time to allow for a reasonable end time.

Exams at NYLS are given on ExamSoft software. (Additional information regarding the software can be found on the portal, and the Offices of Student Life and Information Technology can assist as needed.)

V. Accommodations for Physical Access

The Law School is accessible to individuals in wheelchairs and those with mobility impairments. Students with access concerns should contact the Office of Student Life for information on the best access routes and, if necessary, to make arrangements for specific accommodations such as the removal of a stationary seat in a classroom or to obtain a more convenient locker location.

Accessible restroom locations are:

  • All restrooms in 185 West Broadway (“W” building)
  • “E” building: second floor, sixth floor (women’s room), and ninth floor (men’s room)
  • “C” building: lower level, third floor, fourth floor, and fifth floor

VI. Service Animal Policy

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals are permitted in School facilities for persons with documented disabilities. A service animal is an animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The service provided by the animal must be directly related to the functional limitation caused by the person’s disability.

Faculty and staff should:

  • Allow a service animal to accompany the handler (student or visitor) at all times and everywhere on campus, except where service animals are specifically prohibited due to health, environmental, or safety hazards (e.g., mechanical rooms, custodial closets, areas where protective clothing is necessary, or areas where there is a danger to the animal).
  • Always speak to the handler first; remember, this animal is working and is not a pet.
  • Refrain from petting, feeding, or deliberately startling a service animal. Refrain from offering treats to the service animal.
  • Immediately report any disruptive behavior of a service animal to NYLS Security. No attempt should be made to separate a handler from his or her service animal.
  • Any questions regarding service animals or their handlers should be directed to the Office of Student Life (for students) or Human Resources (for faculty/staff).

Students seeking additional information about Service Animals, or who wish to fill out a Service Animal Registration Form, should contact the Assistant Dean of Student Life.

VII. Temporary Disability

To receive accommodations, students with a temporary disability must provide documentation to the Office of Student Life that states the nature of the disability and its expected duration. Students requesting accommodations due to a temporary disability must follow the procedures explained above in Sections II and III (including submitting a Request for Accommodations Form).

VIII. Confidentiality

Information regarding a student’s disability will not be released to anyone without the student’s permission, except when necessary to conduct school business. The Law School reserves the right to consult with outside professionals regarding a student’s disability when the School deems it appropriate. Professors will not be notified by the administration of a particular student’s disability or of accommodations provided without the student’s permission. Students should not reveal information regarding exam accommodations to their professors, as such notification might breach the policy regarding anonymity of the grading process. Without identifying the individual student, accommodation requests may be discussed with the faculty member teaching the course in order to determine if the recommended accommodation is appropriate. In some cases, it may be unavoidably apparent that a classroom accommodation is being provided. However, according to the New York Law School Faculty Rules, the exam grading process is anonymous. Students with confidentiality concerns should speak with the Assistant Dean of Student Life.

IX. Requesting Accommodations for the Bar Exam

Students who need accommodations for the Bar Exam must apply directly to the Board of Bar Examiners for the particular state in which the exam will be taken. Please note that receiving accommodations during law school does not guarantee you will receive accommodations for the Bar Exam. In general, the following steps may be helpful:

  • Keep records of all previous testing and results.
  • Keep records of all accommodations allowed in the past (high school, college, Law School Admission Council, and law school).
  • Start the application process as early as possible (but not until your final year of law school).

X. Office of Academic Planning and Career Development

Members of the Office of Academic Planning and Career Development are available to meet with any student to discuss disability concerns as they relate to job searches and employment (such as issues of disclosure and selecting appropriate job settings). The facilities of the Office of Career Development are available only to employers whose practices are consistent with New York Law School’s Nondiscrimination and Harassment Policy. Students are encouraged to discuss any concerns related to employer compliance with the policy with the Assistant Dean of Academic Planning and Career Development.

XI. Grievance Procedure

Students who are not satisfied with the accommodations provided should state their concerns in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Life. The Associate Dean may consult with members of the faculty, the Dean, other administrators, and outside professionals in addressing the grievance. The Associate Dean will communicate the Law School’s decision in writing to the student.

XII. Nondiscrimination and Harassment Policy: Preamble

Discrimination and harassment interfere with the educational purpose of New York Law School and negatively affect all members of the Law School community. Faculty, staff, and students have a right to be free from discrimination and harassment, as defined below. Discrimination or harassment directed at any member of the Law School community within the context of the Law School or Law School- sponsored activities will not be permitted, and complaints will be investigated promptly and
thoroughly. New York Law School is proud of its policy of maintaining a work, academic and residential environment that encourages tolerance and respect for the dignity of each individual.

Nothing in this policy shall abridge academic freedom or New York Law School’s educational mission. Prohibitions against discrimination and harassment do not extend to statements or written materials that are relevant and appropriately related to the subject matter of courses.

Read New York Law School’s Non-discrimination and Harassment Policy in its entirety.