If you have a disability that could affect your ability to take a test administered by the Committee of Bar Examiners, you may want to file early for testing accommodations. Testing accommodations are available to those with mental or physical disabilities as defined in Title 4, Division 1, Chapter 7, Rule 4.82 of the Rules of the State Bar of California (Admissions Rules). Applicants with temporary medical conditions, such as a pregnancy or broken leg, and mothers who are nursing may also file requests for accommodations.
Depending on the nature of your disability, accommodations may include such things as wheelchair access, permission to dictate to a typist or digital recorder, extended testing schedule, separate testing room, customized examination materials (i.e., Braille, large print, etc.), extended testing days and permission to bring and use specific items or medical aids. When completing the on-line testing accommodations application and required forms, you and your physician or specialist should request what you think is necessary to allow you to compete on an equal basis with all other applicants. You must also provide adequate documentation and rationale to support the requested accommodations and their relationship to the effects of your disability.
Information and forms related to filing a petition for testing accommodations is also available from the State Bar upon request.
The petition for testing accommodations is treated separately from the application you file to take an exam. Petitions for testing accommodations may be filed prior to filing an application for the examination. However, you must be registered with the State Bar or the petition will not be processed.
Petitions for Testing Accommodations are processed in the order received and in accordance with the Rules of the State Bar of California, Title 4 Admissions and Educational Standards, Division 1 Admission to Practice Law in California, Chapter 7 Testing Accommodations.
Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to file their petitions for testing accommodations well in advance of an examination they intend to take.
Initial processing of a petition generally takes a minimum of 60 days from the date your application is determined complete and processing of petitions requiring review by outside consultants retained by the Committee or those requiring applicants to submit additional information will most likely take longer.
Applicants who wait to file their requests near the final filing deadline for the examination they intend to take generally are not able to exhaust all administrative remedies before administration of the examination, such as appealing a denial of some or all of an applicant’s request for testing accommodations. Early filing is strongly encouraged.
All first-time petitions, requests for expanded accommodations and petitions filed by applicants with temporary disabilities must:
Petitions for testing accommodations during an examination administered by the Committee based on disabilities existing prior to the final application filing deadline must be submitted on-line or received by the State Bar’s Office of Admissions in San Francisco no later than the final testing accommodations petition filing deadline.
Petitions without the required forms and documentation will not be considered complete and will not be processed until brought to a complete status. The deadline will not be extended for any reason.
Petitions for testing accommodations may be filed prior to filing an application for the examination. However, the applicant must be registered with the State Bar or the petition will not be processed.
Petitions for testing accommodations on an emergency basis, which must be based on an injury or disability acquired after the final application filing deadline, must:
The fact that an applicant was unable to get an appointment with his/her specialist before the final filing deadline is not grounds for consideration as an emergency petition.
Applicants who are unsuccessful on an examination and wish to have the same accommodations extended to another administration of the examination must indicate during the exam application process that they want the same testing accommodations as previously granted. You will not be able to select a testing accommodation test center when you register for an examination. You will be assigned to a testing accommodation test center once your request for testing accommodations is processed. Once that reassignment is made, if you need to change your testing accommodations test center location, you may submit a request on-line in the applicant community. It is not necessary to resubmit supporting documentation that was submitted with a previous request, provided the applicant took an examination within the preceding five years and:
If there is any change in the accommodations requested, a new petition and forms with supporting documentation are required. An update to prior medical documentation assessing the applicant’s current functional limitations and ongoing need for accommodations may be required if the nature of the applicant’s disability or disabilities is changeable.
The State Bar reserves the right to request an update to prior documentation in all cases if it determines that the prior documentation is insufficient to establish the applicant’s current level of impairment and need for accommodations.
If a testing accommodations petition is denied in whole or in part, applicants may appeal the decision. Applicants should be aware, however, that if they submit their initial petition less than 60 days before the initial petition/final filing deadline, there may not be sufficient time after receiving a decision to appeal. Appeals must be received in the San Francisco Office of Admissions no later than the first business day of the month in which that examination is scheduled to be administered. The deadline will not be extended. Appeals submitted after the deadline, however, may be considered in connection with a future administration of the examination. The applicant should notify the SF Office of Admissions within 60 days of the date of the petition decision letter that they wish the Committee to do so.
Steps for submitting a complete request
Complete and submit a testing accommodations application on-line in the applicant community (or submit a complete original signed Form A to the San Francisco Office of Admissions) with a personal narrative (a narrative is required for every petition), in addition to the forms and documents that are relevant to your particular disability. Only original, completed, signed supporting forms and documentation should be uploaded to the application in the applicant community or submitted by mail. Photocopied, PDF, scanned, and faxed documents are not acceptable. The State Bar reserves the right to request that documents attached in the on-line applicant community be submitted by mail to the San Francisco Office of Admissions for review. A petition will not be considered complete until all necessary forms have been received. Make sure you request that third parties complete these forms early so you are able to submit your petition by the deadline. Deadlines will not be extended because a particular form has not been received by the Office of Admissions.
There is a checklist of required documents to assist you in ensuring that you have submitted a complete petition.
Step 1 – Verification Form(s)
Have a qualified professional complete each applicable disability verification form and return it to you.
There are separate verification forms for different disabilities: specific learning disorders/disabilities, ADHD, psychological disabilities, visual disabilities, and physical disabilities. You will need to complete the first page of the applicable disability verification form and request that your qualified professional complete the rest of the form, sign it, and return it to you. In addition to completing the form, your qualified professional must attach a comprehensive evaluation report and/or relevant records as outlined on each verification form. Refer to the forms and checklist for more information.
Step 2 – History of Accommodations
Assemble verifying documentation of your history of accommodations requests, if any.
As indicated in the testing accommodations on-line application (Form A), you should provide verification of your accommodations history, such as a copy of the letter(s) you received from the entity notifying you of the specific accommodations granted or denied. The verification should identify the time frame (e.g., third year of law school) and the nature of the disability (e.g., ADHD) for which any accommodations were granted or denied. If you received accommodations as a result of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan, it is recommended that you provide copies of all IEPs or 504 Plans. If you received accommodations in law school, you must submit Form F – Law School Verification with your petition, completed and signed by the appropriate law school official. If you received accommodations for a bar examination in another state/district, you must submit Form G – Other Jurisdiction’s Testing Accommodations Verification with your petition, completed and signed by the appropriate bar admissions administrator.
Step 3 – Supporting Documentation
Assemble any additional documentation or supporting evidence.
Applicants are encouraged to submit any additional documentation that they believe will help support their request for testing accommodations. The decision made by the State Bar will be based on the information provided by the applicant. As you deem necessary, helpful and/or appropriate, collect letters, transcripts, and other documentation in order to submit a comprehensive petition that provides the State Bar with complete information regarding the functional limitation(s) you experience in your academic, professional, and personal life. The State Bar reserves the right to request additional information at any time.
Step 4 – Form A Petition for Testing Accommodations
Read all instructions and rules carefully, then complete and submit the on-line testing accommodations application (Form A). NOTE: You are required to submit a separate personal narrative. Submit the on-line testing accommodations application and upload a personal narrative along with all required forms and documentation, as discussed above, so that everything needed to begin the processing of your petition for testing accommodations is received together.
Step 5 – Submit Your Petition
Completed petitions must be submitted on-line through the State Bar’s website or received (not postmarked) in the San Francisco Office of Admissions if submitted on paper, no later than the final testing accommodations petition filing deadline for the examination that you wish to take. Refer to the Testing Accommodations Submission Checklist.
Testing Accommodations Forms:
Testing Accommodations Submission Checklist
Complete Rules of the State Bar
Title 4 Admissions and Educational Standards
Division 1 Admission to Practice Law in California