Petition for Non-Standard Testing - GUIDELINES

Following is the Board's policy for determining whether to grant test accommodations on the Virginia Bar Examination:

In deciding the merits of petitions for accommodations by bar applicants, the Board relies upon the following definition of disability contained in the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA/ADAAA) as interpreted by controlling case law. A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual. "Substantially" means "considerable" or "specified to a large degree."

  • A bar applicant will be compared to the average person in the general population in determining whether a disability substantially limits a major life activity.
  • The effects of corrective and mitigating measures—both positive and negative—will be considered when determining whether a bar applicant is "substantially limited" in a major life activity and, therefore, disabled. Corrective and mitigating measures may be measures undertaken with artificial aids, like medications and devices, and measures undertaken, whether consciously or not, with the body's own systems.
  • Having an impairment does not make an individual disabled for purposes of the ADA/ADAAA and does not automatically qualify a bar applicant for an accommodation. An applicant must also demonstrate that the impairment limits a major life activity. To qualify as being disabled under the ADA/ADAAA, an applicant must further show that the limitation on the major life activity is "substantial."
  • The determination of a disability by the Board is an individualized inquiry and will be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Objective testing/diagnostic evaluations submitted by your healthcare professional to substantiate your claimed disability must have been administered within the last four (4) years.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Requests for accommodations will be considered only after all information has been received. Filing deadlines apply to receipt of all information, including documentation requested from third parties. All documentation submitted will be retained by the Board and may be reviewed by the Board's consultants as necessary. All accommodations granted to you by the Board will be provided at no cost. Accommodations granted elsewhere do not necessarily entitle an applicant to accommodations on the Virginia Bar Examination nor do accommodations previously granted on a past Virginia Bar Examination necessarily entitle applicants to accommodations on a future exam.

FILING DEADLINE: The applicable items specified in the Petition Checklist must be completed and postmarked or received by the Board on or before the filing deadline of the exam you wish to take.

APPLICANTS REQUESTING ADDITIONAL TESTING TIME: Submit documentation from your physicians or other licensed professionals that details the basis for the requested additional time and the amount of additional time recommended. If a specific amount of additional time is not indicated, your request will not be processed.

  1. Applicants with disabilities are entitled to and have the responsibility to meet the same application filing deadline as individuals without disabilities. Because some of the forms require input from third parties, it is suggested that you request the appropriate individuals to complete the forms well in advance of the filing deadline.
  2. Forms must be typed and, where applicable, must be sworn to before a notary public.
  3. Inquiries regarding your Petition or other substantive matters must be in writing.
  4. If a timely filed Petition is illegible, incomplete or if the Board or the Board's expert finds the applicant or the applicant's healthcare professional has not adequately substantiated the claimed disability, the applicant will be so notified.
  5. If a disability occurs after the filing deadline, the Board will review an applicant's late Petition if it is received in the Office of the Secretary by February 1 for the February exam or July 1 for the July exam. However, such applicants must recognize that there may not be enough time to process a Petition and accompanying documentation to permit the Board to reach a determination on the Petition and to make necessary arrangements at the examination site. If the Petition is complete and the claimed disability substantiated, the Board will accommodate the applicant on a space available basis, or the applicant may carry forward his or her application in accordance with Section VI of the Rules of the Board.
  6. You may be required to submit to independent diagnostic testing AT YOUR EXPENSE by a healthcare professional of the Board's choice. You will be informed if this will be required.
  7. You will receive a written notice of the disposition of your Petition as soon as it has been acted upon by the Board.