Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-23-2008

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.