Archive for February, 2011

DOJ Settles with NBME Over Accommodations

Friday, February 25th, 2011

In a long-awaited development that bodes well for the prospects of badly needed attorney licensing changes, the Department of Justice has just settled with the National Board of Medical Examiners over their refusal to provide testing accommodations. See the press release below from the White House Disability Group for details.

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced a settlement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), a private, non-profit organization that administers the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), a standardized examination related to medical licensing.  Under the terms of the settlement agreement, NBME is committed to providing reasonable testing accommodations to persons with disabilities who seek to take the USMLE, in accordance with the requirements of the ADA.  In addition, it will grant Frederick Romberg, a Yale Medical School student, the accommodations of double the standard testing time and a separate testing area to take the USMLE.

“In the past, demands for unnecessary or redundant documentation, burdensome and expensive repeated professional evaluations, or irrelevant evaluative testing unrelated to the ability to demonstrate one’s knowledge or skills on an examination prevented individuals with appropriately documented disabilities from pursuing their chosen professions.” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “By entering into this agreement, NBME is doing its part to ensure that people with a reading disability like Mr. Romberg will have the opportunity to take the USMLE with the reasonable testing accommodations they need to demonstrate their knowledge and ability.”

Under the agreement, the NBME will:

•         Only request documentation about (a) the existence of a physical or mental impairment; (b) whether the applicant’s impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities within the meaning of the ADA; and (c) whether and how the impairment limits the applicant’s ability to take the USMLE under standard conditions;

•         Carefully consider the recommendations of qualified professionals who have personally observed the applicant in a clinical setting and recommended accommodations based upon their clinical judgment that the individual is substantially limited in one or more major life activities within the meaning of the ADA and needs the requested test accommodations in order to demonstrate his or her ability and achievement level; such recommendations are to be based on generally accepted diagnostic criteria and supported by reasonable documentation.

•         Carefully consider all evidence indicating whether an individual’s ability to read is substantially limited within the meaning of the ADA, including the extent to which it is restricted as to the conditions, manner or duration as compared to the reading ability of most people.

The Justice Department opened an investigation in response to a complaint from Mr. Romberg who alleged that the NBME had twice denied him reasonable testing accommodations to take the USMLE because of his disability, dyslexia, in violation of the ADA.  Subsequently, the department and the NBME sought to resolve the investigation by reaching a settlement agreement.

The settlement was reached under Title III of the ADA which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by private testing entities that administer examinations related to professional licensing.  More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at the website  More information about the settlement with NBME can be found at or by calling the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY).

NALSWD Candidate Statements Due 2/19 at 9pm Pacific

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Just a quick reminder that if you’re interested in running for the NALSWD 2011-2012 board, please send in your Candidate Statement to by 9pm Pacific tomorrow night. The short statement (1-2 paragraphs) should tell us who you are, why you’re running (a few key qualities you have or a specific project you think is important), and what position(s) you are interested in.

Good luck to all the candidates!

Disability Conference at OSU in May

Monday, February 14th, 2011

There is an upcoming conference on Disability and Inclusion at the Ohio State University on May 4 and 5th, 2011. If you are interested in participating, the submission deadline for student presentations is March 31st. More info in the press release below.

The Ohio State University Columbus Campus

Registration opening soon




(Student Submission Deadline March 31 st , 2011)

The Multiple Perspectives Conference encourages students to network with professionals, the community, and scholars who share their interests in disability at its annual student poster competition.   Poster Presentations take a variety of forms and may be based on class projects, research, art or performance work.  This year’s Student Poster reception will be held May 4th from 3-7 in conjunction with the Flame concert in the Ohio Union.   A generous gift from the Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation funds awards (Graduate Research – $500; Undergraduate Research $200, Art & Performance $200 and Community Service $100, Class Projects $100 at this year’s competition.

Submission Details

Reflections on the ADAA in Action: Why We Need Disability Litigation Clinics. Marian Lupo, J.D., Ph.D., Fellow, Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Disability Studies, The Ohio State University

Guidelines for Achieving Quality Health Care for People with Disabilities. Katherine Hevener, Chair, Health and Welfare Committee, Ohio Governors’ Council on People with Disabilities:

Feel Safe, Be Safe Webcast: Plain Language Disaster Preparedness. Mark Starford Director, Board Resource Center and Carol Risley, Executive Director, California State Council on Developmental Disabilities

    Corporate Responsibility to Ensure the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Marc Brenman, Principal, Social Justice Consultancy & Stephanie Ortoleva, Senior Human Rights Legal Advisor, Blue Law International

    Update on Employment by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    Access To The Co-Curriculum- Update from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights

    Reasonable Accommodation and Reasonable Modification: Truths; Misconceptions; and what the law requires.  Ronnell Tomlinson, Director of Housing Enforcement and Director of ADR/Mediation, Ohio Civil Rights Commission

Lessons Learned – Building Curb Ramps in the Right Of Way. Scott A. Swiderski, P.E. & Robert G. Scott, Vice President H.R. Gray

    The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, US Access Board Staff  (General audience presentation.)

    Design & Construction Professionals: Beware the Ides of March- An in depth review of the 2010 Standards of Accessible Design. US Access Board Staff presents this post conference session designed for industry professionals on May 6, 2011 for updates on the details visit

    Preparing for Middle School: Increasing Classroom Preparedness Skills through Self-Management. Kristen Wilson, Patton College of Education and Human Services, Ohio University

    Internships & Success for Minority Students with Disabilities. Tykiah Wright, Wright Choice

    Federal  Advisory Commission on

    Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities Commission Meetings May 3, 8:30 AM–4:00 PM; May 4, 8:30 AM–3:30 PM; Public Hearing May 4, 4:00 PM–9:00 PM. About the Commission

    The Accessible- Digital Rights Management Conference (A-DRM2)

    (Preconference Event  May  3, 2011)

    In April 2010, publishers, standards organizations, disability service offices, lawyers, bookstores, accessibility experts and technologists met on The Ohio State University campus. We discussed opportunities and obstacles related to creating “born digital” textbooks that could be made available to students with print disabilities in a  timely manner. With generous support from the Rehabilitation Services Commission and The Ohio Board of Regents, we have begun studying the accessibility ecosystem (accessible learning materials in the student’s preferred learning environment) and promising formats to achieve the goal of accessible, born digital learning materials. We will report on our findings on May 3, 2011.  Those interested in attending this one-day pre-conference should contact Steve Acker (). Attendees will be asked to comment on a white paper that describes our findings and help us extend recommendations into a wider array of student learning environments.

    Ken Campbell Memorial Lecture on Disability Policy

    The Right to Digital Access: Current Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities

    Presented by Daniel F Goldstein, Esq. Partner, Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP

    Hosted by the Columbus Advisory Committee on Disability Issues

    Free and open to the public

    A senior partner at Brown Goldstein Levy in Baltimore, Dan serves as counsel for the National Federation of the Blind.   He has initiated a national legal campaign to ensure access to technology. His settlement against Cardtronics, provides for tens of thousands of voice-guided ATMs, constituted a major step toward making this ubiquitous convenience accessible to the blind. His suit against set precedent regarding the application of access laws to websites, and his suit against America Online has made AOL accessible to the blind. In litigation he has helped ensure the right of the blind to vote independently and in secret.  His involvement in Arizona State suit and Justice Department complaints related to the use of e-readers; current suit against the Law School Admissions Counsel for web access and pending Department of Education Office for Civil Rights Penn State University focused on web based services and instructional technologies are setting the standard for electronic and Information technology access in higher education.  His work has gone beyond litigation to partnerships, including negotiating joint technology agreements with developers such as

    Copyright and the Rights of the Disabled. Anne Gilliland, Head, Health Sciences Copyright Management Office, The Ohio State University

    Web Accessibility in Higher Ed and the Corporation. Vincent Young  Accessibility Manager, Nationwide Insurance, & Owner, Webhipster, LLC   &  Ken Petri,  Director, OSU Web Accessibility Center

    Access on the Campus: Prospects and Perils of New Technology.   Paul W. Schroeder,  Vice President, Programs and Policy;   American Foundation for the Blind

    Communication Isolation as Reported by a Group of Deaf Texas Inmates.  Katrina R. Miller, Ed.D., CRC, Associate Professor, Psychology, Art Therapy, Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, Emporia State University

    Sign Language Interpreters: Qualified? Says Who? Linda L. Ross, Hallenross and Associates, LLC

    Improving accessibility and Outreach to Deaf American Indians/Alaska Natives.  Damara Paris, MS, CRC, NCC Regional Resource Center on Deafness, Western Oregon University

    Taking Advantage of Technology for Including Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals. Ben Hall, CSC, NIC, SC:L (lead presenter) and Emily Ott, NIC Master Organization: Hallenross and Associates,


    In Concert at the Ohio Union

    May 4th 4-6 – Free  & Open to the Public

    Join us for this event is jointly sponsored by the Ohio State University President and Provost’s Diversity Lecture and Cultural Arts Series and the Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation Endowment and provides the venue for the Ethel Louise Armstrong Student Poster Competition

    FLAME is an international touring band made up of eleven people with disabilities, including autism, Down’s syndrome and blindness.  They were recently featured in People Magazine and working on the release of  “Outside the Lines” their fourth CD and first with all original music in early December.  FLAME’s musical range is as diverse and their members with covers of Brown Eyed Girl, Black Magic Women, Summertime, Proud Mary and Another Brick In The Wall.  On Good Morning America the band stated “We hope to change the world and the way people with disabilities are viewed through music”

    SCARS a Love Story. Jim Ferris,  (Performance) A Post Contemporary Chautaugua made possible with support from The Ohio State University Disability Studies Program and the Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation Endowment

    Transition to College: Student Voices. Sharon Reynolds, Director, Adult Literacy and Central/Southeast ABLE Resource Center, Stevens Literacy.

    PhotoVoice, Mental Health Recovery: Through our Lens and Pen. Betsy Nofziger, LISW-S, CPRP  Senior Program Consultant, COVA  and Barbara Schmitzer, LSW,  Coordinator for Rehabilitation Readiness

    Photovoice: Using the “eye/I” to tell a story.  Katye Miller, MS, CHES Wellness Coordinator OSU Student Wellness Center

    Disability Studies in the Arts & Humanities: Two Projects, Pre-1970

Constructing Castle: How Deafness Mattered in James Castle’s Art. Brenda Jo Brueggemann, Professor, English & Disability Studies, Ohio State university Dept. of English

Accessing the Academy:  Disabled Student Activism and the Transformation of Higher Education. Lindsey Patterson PhD Candidate, Department of History, Ohio State University

Black Feminist Disability Studies: Learning from Our Intersections. Sami Schalk, Doctoral Candidate in Gender Studies, Indiana University

Crafting the Body:  Re-imagining the Disability Narrative

Readings by a  panel, MFA students from Ohio State University

University of Arizona Law School Dean Seeking Input from Law Students with Disabilities

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Do you have thoughts you’d like to share about what kinds of things law schools should be doing for students with disabilities? If so, you’re in luck, because Paula Nailon ( has asked NALSWD members to give her input on this very subject in preparation for an upcoming conference panel she’ll be moderating.

If you have a moment to shoot her an email, please let her know your thoughts! Here is her explanation of the kinds of things she’s interested in:

“I am preparing to moderate a panel presentation for an upcoming conference, “Assisting Law Students with Disabilities in the 21st Century,” being hosted by American University in DC.  Attendees at the event will be law school career counselors and student services folks.  My panel will share their perspective on how to best transition from law school into a wide variety of employment settings.  I would love to know anything you might like to share about your own experiences applying and interviewing for jobs, and your experiences in the work place.  Do you have any questions or issues related to your disability that you would like advice about how to handle when it comes to recruiting, hiring, and working?  I promise to keep your contact information confidential, and only share details that you expressly give me permission to share.  I would like to use your input in framing questions and gathering information from the panel.  I promise to share the content of our panel discussion with all students who contact me, along with any other interesting information that I learn at the conference.”

–Paula Nailon

Asst. Dean for Professional Development

University of Arizona Rogers College of Law

PO Box 210176

Tucson, AZ 85721

520-626-6107   (fax) 520-621-9140

DOJ Summer Volunteer Program

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

The DOJ is looking for diverse summer volunteers. See the letter that NALSWD just received below. The deadline to apply seems to be the end of February.


As the recently selected Special Counsel for Diversity Outreach and Recruitment at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), I would like to share with you some information about volunteer internship opportunities with DOJ for the upcoming summer.

Through its Volunteer Legal Intern recruiting, DOJ selects approximately 1800 volunteer interns each year. Of these, about 1000 are offered during the summer for positions in various offices throughout the country. These positions are without compensation but are highly sought after because of the responsibility and experience they offer.  Challenging work. Lots of responsibility. Interesting people. These are some of the phrases that students use to describe their experience as legal interns at the DOJ.

DEADLINES: These positions usually have early application deadlines (at least three months in advance), e.g., students interested in a position for the upcoming summer may need to apply in January / February.

A significant number of volunteer internships are with the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices located across the country, and the Department offices located in Washington D.C.. There are also opportunities with the Immigration Courts, the U.S. Trustees’ Offices, and other Department field offices nationwide.

For eligibility, requirements, a listing of upcoming summer opportunities, and information on how to apply, please go to our Volunteer Legal Intern recruitment webpage:

Please note that each participating DOJ office conducts its internship program independently and has its own internal deadlines. Students should apply separately to each office in which they have an interest. Offices typically request a resume and a law school transcript. Application requirements vary and are outlined in the “Qualifications” section of each announcement. Some organizations request a writing sample, a cover letter listing times and dates of availability, and references.

Because you are a leader at both your law school and of NALSWD, I ask that you please share this information with your classmates and the general NALSWD membership.  I hope that you will encourage them to consider taking advantage of this great opportunity, and also point out to them that for many of these internships have very early application deadlines.

Please feel free to contact me should you have any additional questions regarding DOJ’s Volunteer Legal Intern recruiting or about DOJ in general.

Warm regards,

Richard Parker

Richard L. Parker

Special Counsel on

Diversity Recruitment and Outreach

United States Department of Justice

450 Fifth Street, NW, Suite 10200

Washington, DC  20530

Phone:  (202) 514-8912

Fax: (202) 514-0713