Learning Disorders and Law School: Strategies and Resources
September 1, 2020
Law schools across the country with all kinds of students and faculty could fairly be described by a single word: rigor. Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree programs are traditionally known for copious amounts of required reading and semester-end exams that count for a student’s whole grade. A legal education is an intensive course of study that would challenge any student.
A student with a learning disorder or disability (LD) may struggle for a particular reason—not for lack of effort but because of the conventional structure of class, assignments and tests. LDs can cause difficulty with processing information, a problem that is exacerbated when universities and colleges fail to offer support.
However, with appropriate strategies, students with LDs can succeed in law school and in the legal profession. Learn more about learning disorders and find resources below.
Generally, people with LDs are of average or above average intelligence. However, a gap may appear between a student’s academic performance and the expected skills based on their age and intelligence because an LD affects the ability to learn and apply new skills.
Students with LDs may struggle in classrooms where conventional teaching methods—lengthy lectures based on textbook readings, all oriented around an exam—are primarily used or where students have no support. University and college disability services aim to provide students with support, guidance and any accommodations they may need.
Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disability in places of public accommodation, which covers public and private postgraduate colleges and universities.
Students With Disabilities: The National Center for Education Statistics offers data on students (ages 3–21) served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by disability type and race/ethnicity, among other factors.