Supreme Court of Florida
No. SC06-1074, 2007 WL 3024353
October 18, 2007
Keywords: test accommodations, admission applications, web accessibility, equal participation
Facts of the Case
The Florida Board of Bar Examiners formally asked the Supreme Court of Florida to change the Supreme Court Rules for Admission to the Florida Bar.
The changes they wanted to make to rule 4-17.1 said, “In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), test accommodations are provided by the board at no additional cost to applicants.”
They wanted to combine the bar exam and bar admission applications.
They wanted to require all applications be completed online.
The Court adopted the proposed changes and they took effect on May 1, 2008.
Policy & Practice
In making this decision, the Court looked to Title II of the ADA. This title says the Court must make sure qualified bar applicants with disabilities have equal participation in the benefits, services, programs, and activities of the Florida State Bar.
Online Bar Application Requirement
Requiring that anyone applying to the Bar do so on-line could make it more difficult for people with visual impairments to apply. The Florida Supreme Court will have to make sure its website meets minimum accessibility rules.
In 2010, the Supreme Court of Florida again changed the rules for admission to the bar. All applicants may now use a laptop for the written part of the exam. Applicants that choose this option must fill out a form on the Florida Bar website and pay a $125 fee. Applicants that need a laptop as an accommodation must request it as an accommodation from the Florida Bar. There is no cost to individuals with disabilities for reasonable accommodations.
- Supreme Court of Florida – Florida Board of Bar Examiners Re: Amendments to Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions to the Bar [PDF file]
- Florida Courts – ADA Information
- Summary: Professional Licensing Issues: Title II of the ADA applied to State and Local Professional Licensing (July 2007)
- Lauren E. Chanatry and Jack Cronin, Professional Licensing Issues: Title II of the ADA applied to State and Local Professional Licensing (updated Aug. 2017)
- Matthew W. Dietz, Reasonable Accommodations for Attorneys with Disabilities, Florida Bar Review, 81(4)
- Supreme Court of Florida – In Re: Amendments to Rules of the Supreme Court Relating to Admissions to the Bar
These materials do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon in any individual case. Please consult an attorney licensed in your state for legal advice and/or representation. These materials were prepared by the legal research staff of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University in partnership with the Southeast ADA Center to highlight legal and policy developments relevant to civil rights protections and the impact of court decisions in the Southeast Region under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These materials are based on federal disability rights laws and court decisions in effect at the time of publication. Federal and state disability rights law can change at any time. In addition, state and local laws and regulations may provide different or additional protections. Materials are intended solely as informal guidance, and are neither a determination of your legal rights nor responsibilities under the ADA or other federal, state, and local laws, nor binding on any agency with enforcement responsibility under the ADA. The accuracy of any information contained herein is not warranted. Any links to external websites are provided as a courtesy and are not intended to nor do they constitute an endorsement of the linked materials.