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Case results in improved access for the blind

Blind people will have equal access to the Law School Admissions Council Inc.’s website under a settlement reached Tuesday with the National Federation of the Blind.

The council, a nonprofit that administers the Law School Admission Test and processes law school applicants’ academic credentials, will provide full access for the blind to its website by Sept. 1. The site will allow use of screen access technology, which converts words on the computer screen into synthesized speech or Braille.

The settlement extends to the whole of the council’s website, including the process of applying to law schools through lsac.org.

Baltimore attorney Daniel Goldstein, who represented the National Federation of the Blind in the matter, said the settlement will mean a “great deal” to his client.

“The only way now to get into law school is through online applications, and for the overwhelming majority of law schools, the only online application is through the LSAC website,” he said. “Having this website be fully accessible means blind people who want to go to law school don’t have to ask or pay someone to help them simply because the website had gratuitous barriers.”

The federation will perform accessibility tests of the site for a year, as part of the settlement.

The lawsuit is part of an ongoing effort by the federation to make the Internet as accessible to blind people as it is to others.

The federation also filed a request for investigation with the Department of Justice against nine law schools that were using the LSAC website for their application process, according to the federation’s spokesman, Chris Danielson.

The DOJ is now working with the law schools to put in place plans for those schools to be compliant until the LSAC website is updated.

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