On September 28, 2022, NWLC joined an amicus brief led by the National Disability Rights Network in T.W. v. NYS BOLE, in support of testing accommodations for aspiring lawyers with disabilities. The plaintiff, T.W., brought this lawsuit against the New York State Board of Law Examiners (BOLE) for failing to provide reasonable test-taking accommodations required by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) until her third attempt at passing the New York bar exam. The district court wrongly dismissed T.W.’s lawsuit, holding that BOLE is not required to follow the ADA’s requirements, therefore making it less likely that BOLE will grant accommodations for people with disabilities who seek to take the New York bar exam.
The amicus brief urges the Second Circuit to reverse the district court’s order and allow T.W.’s case to move forward. In particular, the brief highlights the importance of ensuring that an equal playing field is provided for people with disabilities, who already face significant barriers to entry into the legal profession. These barriers are especially high for those who already face multiple forms of intersecting discrimination, like T.W., who is a woman of color with a disability. By not providing test-taking accommodations in compliance with the ADA, the BOLE violated T.W.’s fundamental constitutional right to be free from discrimination public services, including in educational testing. For this reason, the brief argues, the district court incorrectly found that BOLE was immune from the lawsuit and that it T.W.’s claims were barred.