POLICY FOR APPLICANTS WITH DISABILITIES
It is the policy of the New Hampshire Board of Bar Examiners ("Board") to administer the New Hampshire Bar Exam ("NHBE") in a manner that does not discriminate against qualified applicants with disabilities. A qualified applicant with a disability who is otherwise eligible to take the NHBE, but who cannot demonstrate under standard testing conditions that he/she possesses the knowledge and skills to be admitted to the Bar of the State of New Hampshire, may request reasonable testing accommodations.
The Board will make reasonable modifications in any policies, practices, and procedures which might otherwise deny equal access to individuals with disabilities. Such modifications will be made unless a fundamental alteration in the examination or other admission requirements would result. Accommodations made available in appropriate cases include additional testing time, as well as auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication. Separate charges will not be assessed to individuals with disabilities to cover the costs of reasonable accommodations.
Individuals with disabilities will not be tested separately from other examinees, unless necessary to ensure that the test is equally effective for all examinees. If the individual prefers not to accept a reasonable accommodation, the Board will not require that the accommodation be accepted.
"Disability" means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the applicant and substantially limits the ability of the applicant to demonstrate, under standard testing conditions, that the applicant possesses the knowledge, skills and abilities tested on the NHBE.
"Physical impairment" means a physiological disorder or condition or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the bodys systems. "Mental impairment" means a mental or psychological disorder such as organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, attention deficit disorder and specific learning disabilities.
"Qualified applicant with a disability" means an applicant with a disability who with reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices; the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids and services; is capable of demonstrating that he/she possesses the knowledge, skills and abilities tested on the NHBE.
"Reasonable accommodation" means an adjustment or modification of the standard testing conditions that ameliorates the impact of the applicants disability without fundamentally altering the nature of the examination, or the Boards ability to determine whether the applicant possesses the minimum level of competence necessary for the practice of law in New Hampshire without imposing an undue burden on the Board, and without compromising the security and validity of the examination.
REQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATIONS
A request for reasonable testing accommodations must be submitted to the clerk of the supreme court along with the application for admission on or before the application filing deadline on forms prescribed by the Board (Form A, Form B, Form B-LD (if applicable), Form B-AD/HD (if applicable) and Form C) describing the disability, the accommodation requested, and how the accommodation will ameliorate the applicants disability. A statement from the applicants treating physician or licensed treating professional must be included. One copy of the request, including all forms and the statement from the applicant's treating physician, shall also be submitted to the Chair of the Board. Medical or other documentation is considered to be current in most instances if less than two years old.
The Chair of the Board will review requests for testing accommodations on a case-by-case basis. The Chair may request additional documentation and may refer the applicants records to a medical or other specialist for evaluation at the expense of the Board. The Chair will issue a written statement granting, denying, or modifying the request for accommodation.
If the requested accommodation is denied or modified, the applicant may appeal the Chairs decision to the full Board by making a written request for review within fourteen (14) days following the dated of issuance of the Chairs decision. A hearing before the Board will be scheduled in response to the applicants request for appeal and will take place by telephone conference, if necessary, prior to the NHBE. Written notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing will be sent to the applicant.
At the hearing, the applicant may be represented by counsel and may call witnesses whose testimony cannot be provided in affidavit form. The burden will be on the applicant to show the existence of a disability and the necessity of the accommodation by a preponderance of the evidence. The formal rules of evidence shall not apply. The hearing will be tape-recorded, and a copy of the tape will be provided to the applicant upon request. The Board shall render its decision in writing and serve a copy thereof by mail to the applicant. The Boards decision is subject to review by the Supreme Court in accordance with the Rules of the Supreme Court.
If you have any questions about the Boards policies with respect to reasonable accommodations in testing, you should call Sherry M. Hieber, Esquire, Bar Admissions Administrator, at (603) 224-8806 or Gordon MacDonald, Esquire, Chair of the New Hampshire Board of Bar Examiners, at (603) 628-4068.