Law School Admission Council to expand screen access

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The National Federation of the Blind reached a settlement April 26 requiring the Law School Admission Council  to install screen access technology on its website so it is accessible to people who are blind.

Under the terms of one settlement, LSAC, the online application service for law schools, must begin using software that converts information on the computer screen into synthesized speech or Braille, a system of dots used by people who are blind to read and write. The service must be in use by September 1, in time for the beginning of the next application cycle.

“Access to websites is critical to the full and equal participation of blind people in all aspects of modern life,” said NFB President Marc Maurer in a news release. “In this instance, access is especially critical, since without it blind people experience significant barriers to entering the legal profession.”

The settlement will be overseen and monitored by the National Federation of the Blind and the Justice Department, which participated in the case. It caps a two year legal battle that began when the National Federation of the Blind filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court for the State of California in 2009.

In a related case, the Justice Department also reached an agreement with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School requiring it to notify applicants of the services available to them while LSAC changes its site, publicize its non discrimination policy against people with disabilities and to cease using the LSAC service if it does not comply with the related settlement, according to a Justice Department news release.  The Justice Department is pursuing similar deals with eight other law schools that use the LSAC service.