Accommodations For The Michigan Bar Exam

How To Seek Accommodations For The Michigan Bar Exam

Many people with disabilities take the bar exam each year.  Given the nature of the exam and the desire for every taker to be on an equal playing field, each jurisdiction has developed a system for offering accommodations to those who need them.  If you think you might be eligible for accommodations, be sure to contact your local bar for details on how to proceed.  In this post, we discuss how to seek accommodations for the Michigan bar exam.

How To Seek Accommodations For The Michigan Bar Exam

The Michigan Board of Law Examiners has a document with detailed instructions on how to seek accommodations for the Michigan bar exam.  The document can be viewed here.  The Board’s general principle behind offering accommodations reads, “A qualified applicant with a disability who cannot demonstrate under standard testing conditions that he/she possesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities tested on the bar examination, may request reasonable test accommodations.”

Timeline

The Board indicates that one must already be registered to sit for the exam itself before requesting accommodations for the Michigan bar exam.  Thus, if you plan on seeking accommodations, make sure you start the actual bar exam application process early!    Applications for accommodations must be postmarked by November 1st for the February exam and March 1st for the July exam.  However, late requests are accepted through December 15th and through May 15th for February and July respectively. However, these late applicants will not be able to supplement their applications or file an appeal. (Note: please check the rules for the most updated dates/information in case they have changed!)

Documentation

In order to receive accommodations for the Michigan bar exam, there are numerous forms that need to complete and submit.  First, you are going to need to have your doctor fill out a disability verification form.  There is a different form based on the type of disability claimed, so make sure you get the right one! Most of these forms require a comprehensive evaluation.  The forms ask for many details regarding medical history. Start this process early in order to make sure you have time to complete it.

You are also going to have to provide documentation of any former accommodations you have received.  If a school or testing center has provided you with accommodations in the past, you will need them to fill out a form verifying this.  Again, you need a third party to fill out this form. Make sure to start this process early enough to allow for the completion of everything necessary.

If your disability involves AD/HD or a learning disability, you will also need to provide your academic transcripts.

In addition to third party forms, you will also have to fill out your own application for accommodations for the Michigan bar exam.  This form will ask for your account of your disability. It will also ask your history of accommodations, and what kind of accommodations you are requesting.

Accommodations for the Michigan bar can include the following: variations in test question format (Braille, audio CD, larger font), assistance involving a reader or a scribe, and extra time on either or both portions of the exam.

Takeaways

The main thing to remember when applying for accommodations for the Michigan bar exam is to start this process early!  Be sure to contact your doctor early. Explain what you need and give them plenty of time to complete the forms.  Do not leave this task for the last minute!  The Michigan BLE accepts applications until the late applicant deadline. However, you want to meet the first deadline in order to give yourself the freedom to amend or appeal.  Get this out of the way early! That way, all you have to worry about is studying in the months leading up to the exam!

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