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Charleston School of Law Juris Doctor Program Catalog and Student Handbook 2023-2024

Academic Catalog and Handbook

Overview

The Charleston School of Law complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and provides assistance and guidance to students with a disability to ensure equal access to the educational program at the School of Law. The School of Law provides reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, including learning disabled students and those with health or physical impairments.

Reasonable accommodations, supported by documentation of the disability, are available to qualified students on a case-by-case basis.  These accommodations are developed through the review of the student’s disability documentation and consideration of each student’s strengths, needs, and the academic program.  Reasonable accommodations are intended to remove barriers to equal access to the education program; however, accommodations will not be granted that fundamentally alter the requirements of the course of study at the School of Law (please see below for information about the Standards of Study at the School of Law) or that create an undue advantage to the recipient of the accommodations.  It is important for students to recognize that the School of Law may not necessarily agree to grant the particular accommodations that a student has received in the past or that a student is requesting.  In addition, accommodations are not retroactive and will not take effect until the date they are granted by the ADA Coordinator.

Students seeking accommodations should review the policies, procedures and guidelines described on this page.  Students should be aware that requests for accommodations must be made no later than two weeks before any scheduled test.

For any questions or for more information, please contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Margaret Lawton, who is also the ADA Coordinator, at 843.377.2423 or Cristy Lorente, Assistant Director of Student Wellness and Success, at 843.377.1322. 

Reasonable Accommodations and Standards for Study at the Law School

 

The program of legal education at the Charleston School of Law is rigorous and requires that students have minimum essential skills and abilities for successful completion of the program.  Students must be able to meet program qualifications and maintain essential institutional standards. The faculty has adopted graduation requirements and academic policies, including Learning Outcomes and Objectives, that each student must be able to comply with in order to be successful in the program.

The faculty developed these standards and requirements after careful consideration of among others, the responsibilities and skills needed for the practice of law as well as the requirements for law study pursuant to the American Bar Association’s Standards for Approval of Law Schools.  An important feature of the legal program is that students are assessed and graded in comparison with other students in situations that are time-sensitive and often stressful.

  • Intellectual and Communication Skills: Students must be able to engage in legal research, reasoning and analysis, and to engage in problem solving of complex fact patterns and laws. Students must be able to effectively communicate both orally and in writing.
  • Course Requirements: Students must possess the ability to comply with all deadlines and time constraints, and to prioritize and manage multiple tasks, as lawyers do in the practice of law.
  • Class Attendance: The ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools requires that all law schools have an attendance requirement. Students must be able to have regular and punctual class attendance, pursuant to the Charleston School of Law’s attendance requirement.
  • Ethical and Professional Skills:  Students must be able to comply with the School of Law’s codes and policies, including the Honor Code and the Disciplinary Code, as well as the general ethical principles and rules that govern the legal profession. Students are reminded of the principles of the Civility Oath that they take during Orientation.

Requesting Accommodations

Application Process

To apply for accommodations for a disability a student should email the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to schedule an appointment.  The Associate Dean will contact the student to arrange a time to meet to discuss the request for accommodations and to review appropriate documentation. The Associate Dean may request additional documentation before making a determination regarding accommodations. Once a determination has been made, the student will be notified and, if accommodations have been approved, the student will also be notified of the accommodations to be provided.

  • If a student is dissatisfied with the Associate Dean’s decision on accommodations, the student may appeal to the Associate Dean of Students.

Documentation

Because accommodation determinations are made on a case-by-case basis, the type and quantity of documentation necessary for each student may vary.  However, any documentation must be typed on the medical professional’s letterhead, dated, and signed, and should:

Be current and relevant: Documentation should reflect the current impact of the disabilities on the student.

Contain the credentials of the evaluator(s): The credentials of the individual(s) making the diagnosis should match the condition that is being reported. The evaluator should be a licensed or otherwise properly credentialed professional.  The documentation should be on the professional’s letterhead, which should reflect the professional’s credentials.

Contain a diagnostic statement identifying the disability: The documentation should include a clear diagnostic statement that describes how the professional diagnosed the student’s condition, including the diagnostic methodology used (criteria, testing, evaluation methods and procedures, for example). While a diagnosis using codes from the DSM or other organization(s) is preferable, a full clinical description may also convey the necessary information regarding the diagnosis.

Detail the existing impairment and current functional limitations of the diagnosed condition: The diagnosing professional should indicate how the disabling condition(s) currently impacts the student and identify possible accommodations. A comprehensive approach would include results of formal evaluation procedures, clinical narrative, and the student’s self-report.

Describe the expected progression or stability of the disability: If relevant, the documentation should provide information on expected changes in the functional impact of the disability over time and context. This information provides opportunities to anticipate and plan for varying functional impacts.

Describe current and past accommodations, services, and medications: The student and/or the professional should indicate any previous accommodations or current ones being provided, as well as any services, such as assistive devices, support services, or auxiliary aids.

Recommend academic accommodations: While the school is not required to provide or adopt recommendations made by outside entities, specific recommendations with an explanation of the rationale for such recommendations as related to the specific functional impact, especially academic performance is preferred.

Administration of Accommodations

The Office of Academic Affairs administers and coordinates accommodations, including any accommodation for testing.  Documentation about a student’s disability is maintained confidentially, separate from a student’s academic records.  The Office also makes every effort to ensure that information about an accommodation is shared only with staff who are part of the process of providing accommodations.  In addition, exams are graded anonymously, and an accommodated student’s exam has no mark identifying it as such.

The Office administers all scheduled tests and exams. In general, students with accommodations will have their scheduled tests and exams as published on the website although there may be occasion where a test or exam will start earlier than scheduled. Other information (location, etc.) about these scheduled tests and exams will be provided prior to the date of any test or exam.

Students with testing accommodations who have timed in-class assessments (quizzes, for example) must notify the Office of Academic Affairs one week in advance of the in-class assessment so that arrangements can be made to implement the student’s testing accommodations.

Accommodations for the Bar Exam

Students who are granted accommodations at the School of Law are encouraged to apply for accommodations on any state bar exam they expect to take upon graduation. Upon student request, the Office of Academic Affairs will assist with providing documentation regarding accommodations a student has received while at the law school 

The receipt of accommodations at the School of Law does not guarantee the receipt of accommodations on a bar exam or other type of exam.

For additional information, please see the links below: