Newsday – Lisa Rousso Sues Over Law School Entrance Exam

November 29, 2011 -Newsday.com

A Fort Salonga woman who says she has a brain disorder that causes her to read and write slowly has filed a federal lawsuit against administrators of the law school entrance exam, saying she has been denied additional time she needs to take the test.

Lisa Rousso, 41, filed suit Monday in federal court in Brooklyn, saying the Pennsylvania-based Law School Admissions Council refused to provide accommodations for her disability that would allow her to take the Law School Admission Test on Saturday at Farmingdale State College.

Rousso said she has a cognitive disorder stemming from a brain lesion that was surgically removed in 2005.

In an interview, Rousso said she had provided medical documentation in October that her disorder is irreversible.

She said the Law School Admissions Council told her, through her attorney, that they had reviewed the documents and believed her condition likely would improve.

“I was kind of blown away because I thought, ‘Are you kidding me? Do you know more than my doctors know?’ ” Rousso said. The council did not interview her or dispatch doctors to examine her, she said.

A spokeswoman for the admissions council, which runs the exam, known as the LSAT, said the council does not comment on lawsuits.

Rousso is asking the court for an order allowing her an additional three hours to take the three-hour exam, plus extra rest breaks during the test.

She also seeks compensation for about $8,000 she has spent on fees to take the exam and legal expenses, said her attorney, Jo Anne Simon of Brooklyn. The LSAT costs $263, which includes exam fees and preparation of law school applications.

“The law requires that it be fairly administered and equitably administered,” Simon said.

Rousso, a married mother of three boys, said her disorder causes severe fatigue. She said she could not complete sample exams during LSAT preparation courses.

“My processing is much slower than it ever was,” she said. “It’s like when somebody has to repeat something to you over and over — that’s what it’s like to me.”

Rousso, president of the Kings Park Council of Schools, an umbrella group of parent-teacher organizations, said LSAT administrators first said they did not receive medical reports after she mailed her exam application in October.

“They waited weeks to tell me they didn’t have it,” she said, adding that she supplied another copy.

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