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LSAC Changes LSAT Accommodations for Nursing Mothers

At its meeting on June 1, the LSAC Board of Trustees changed its policy to allow nursing mothers to request accommodations on the LSAT (more later on what to expect). Previously, new mothers who took the LSAT received no accommodations at all; LSAC had a blanket policy of refusing such requests.

For last year’s October LSAT, a new mother named Ashley asked LSAC for extra break time to pump milk for her baby. LSAC, predictably, denied her request. While Ashley went through with the LSAT anyway, her experience doesn’t sound fun. The ACLU got involved and contacted LSAC on her behalf, to no avail. The ACLU then started an internet advocacy campaign, encouraging people to take to Twitter, Facebook, and email to protest LSAC’s policy. Many bloggers, outraged, spread the word as well.

Despite the online commotion, the bad publicity, and the seeming reasonableness of Ashley’s request (we’re talking about extra break time, not extra time on the LSAT), LSAC gave no indication that they were considering changing their policy until last week, when this LSAC page made its way online.

If you’re a nursing mother, here’s the deal: your request for what LSAC calls a “lactation-related modification in the administration of the LSAT” needs to be made in writing by the regular registration deadline for the LSAT administration you’re hoping to take. As for what to expect, the policy is vague and makes no promises other than that LSAC will consider each request on a case-by-case basis. The example accommodations LSAC lists are extended breaks or additional breaks; while they don’t explicitly rule out other modifications, I wouldn’t expect much more.

If you neither are nor expect to become a nursing mother, I fail to see how you might make a case for a lactation-related modification on the LSAT. Guys, male lactation is theoretically possible, but even if you were to succeed I wouldn’t be too optimistic about your chances with LSAC. You would, however, climb way up the list of the most absolutely insane things ever attempted in search of an edge on a standardized test.

One last question: are we seeing the beginnings of a kinder, gentler LSAC? First, they announce this new policy for breastfeeding moms. What’s next? Getting to see your LSAT score before you cancel? Fat chance. Check-in service for cell phones on LSAT test day so you don’t have to leave them at home? What would you like to see LSAC do to make the LSAT experience friendlier?