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10.4 Disability Services for Students

Minimum Student Capacities

CUNY School of Law pioneered the model of integrating a lawyering curriculum with traditional doctrinal studies. The Minimum Student Capacities listed below are the minimum standards for successful participation in our educational program. CUNY School of Law is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to all qualified students to meet these goals.

  1. Engage in an appropriate and professional process to complete assignments.

  2. Demonstrate appropriate development of professional judgment, including accurate and timely completion of class responsibilities.

  3. Learn by engaging in self-criticism and constructively incorporating criticism from faculty, colleagues, supervisors, clients, staff and other professionals.

  4. Demonstrate the ability to integrate knowledge to establish appropriate critical judgment when acting in the role of lawyer.

  5. Demonstrate the ability to consider diverse opinions and work effectively and productively in groups.

  6. Effectively communicate with and maintain effective, professional relationships with faculty, colleagues, supervisors, clients, staff and other professionals.

  7. Possess the emotional and physical stability to function effectively under stress and adapt to changing environments inherent in classroom and practice setting.

To qualify as a student at CUNY School of Law, individuals must meet both our academic standards and our Minimum Student Capacities, with or without reasonable accommodations. For further information regarding services and resources for students with disabilities, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at 718-340-4207.


It is the policy of the Law School to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled students, including learning- disabled students and those with health impairments, as well as those with other disabilities. Students whose disabilities may require some type of accommodation, including exam accommodations, are encouraged to meet with the Disabilities Coordinator as early as possible. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate a request for accommodation, even if the student has previously identified herself/himself as a person with a disability. Appropriate accommodations will be worked out on a case-by-case basis.

All applications concerning disability accommodations will be regarded as confidential and will only be disclosed when there is a specific need to know this information (e.g., to a proctor of an examination for which special accommodations have been approved).

The Law School complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which protect persons from discrimination on the basis of physical or mental impairments.

Documentation Guidelines

Students diagnosed with a disability who request services or accommodations are required to provide appropriate and current documentation. In the case of multiple disabilities, students must provide documentation for each disability for which accommodations are requested. Prior documentation such as an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a history of receiving accommodations from a former school does not necessarily validate the need for services or continuation of accommodations at the university level. This history can, however, be attached to the current documentation as part of a comprehensive assessment battery. Documentation of impairment alone may not be sufficient to require that the student be provided a reasonable accommodation. It must be demonstrated that the impairment rises to the level of a disability, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, the impairment must substantially limit or restrict a major life activity (e.g., learning, reading, concentrating, thinking). The documentation must provide information to support the need for all accommodations requested. The determination of reasonable accommodations on campus is based on satisfying the documentation guidelines outlined below and a clear demonstration of the functional limitations on the student’s performance in an academic setting. These guidelines apply for all disability types recognized by the ADA.

A qualified professional should conduct the evaluation and provide name, title, and professional credentials, including information about state licensure or certification number. The evaluation should include the diagnosis (ICD-10 or DSM-IV) and be dated. The document will include the original signature of the professional responsible for the assessment of functioning. The evaluator must include, in the test report, evidence that instruments selected are reliable and valid for use with an adolescent or adult.

The evaluation must be current. Disabilities may change in severity over time, and documentation should support current accommodation needs. Recommendations and rationale for accommodations and/or assistive technology must be based on the analysis of the functional impact of the diagnosis. Services, accommodations, and/or assistive technology will be determined, on an individual basis, upon documentation review and consultation with the disability service professional at each campus. Insufficient documentation may result in the delay of services and accommodations.

Key Points: Qualified evaluator; current evaluation; evaluation signed and dated by evaluator; recommendations for accommodations. (Note: the terms evaluation and documentation are used according to which is more appropriate for disability type. Both constitute acceptable reports or material for supporting services and accommodations.)

Learning Disability Documentation Guidelines

The evaluation should:

  • be conducted by an evaluator with comprehensive training with adolescents and adults with learning disabilities;

  • be within the last three (3) years;

  • include a description of functional impact of diagnosis and include specifics of how the learning process may be affected by the diagnosis; and should include recommendations and rationale for accommodations and/or assistive technology; and

  • include test scores to document the nature and severity of the disability.

Adult students, not previously diagnosed, must provide appropriate documentation, as per guidelines for students not previously diagnosed.

ADD/ADHD Documentation Guidelines

The evaluation should:

  • be conducted by a qualified professional whose background includes training and relevant experience in the full range of psychiatric disorders;

  • be within the past three (3) years and be updated as required;

  • include a summary of relevant historical information, including initial onset, diagnosis, medication, and indication of ADD/ADHD throughout adolescence or adulthood;

  • identify functional limitations in the educational setting; and

  • include rationale for specific recommendations or accommodations.

Psychological and Psychiatric Guidelines

The evaluation should:

  • be made by a professional who is qualified with appropriate training in diagnosing psychological and/or psychiatric disorders;

  • be within the past three (3) years and be updated as required;

  • include a summary of relevant historical information, including initial onset, diagnosis, medication, and indication of psychological/psychiatric disorders throughout adolescence or adulthood; and

  • include rationale for specific recommendations or accommodations.

Visual Impairment or Blindness

The evaluation should:

  • include an ophthalmologic evaluation made by a qualified professional or granted by a recognized resource, such as the NY State Commission for the Blind (include CBVH Registry Number);

  • be current and reflect present condition. In the case of visual acuity changes, new documentation should be submitted; and

  • identify functional limitations and provide recommendations for academic accommodations/assistive technology.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guidelines

The documentation should:

  • include a diagnosis based on an audiological evaluation conducted by a qualified professional; and

  • provide a description of functional limitations and recommendations for academic accommodations, interpreter services, and other services, including assistive technology.

Mobility/Orthopedic Disabilities

The evaluation should:

  • be made by a qualified professional with the appropriate training in diagnosing physical disabilities;

  • be current and relevant and, if conditions change, an updated report will be required; and

  • include a diagnosis, a description of any functional limitations, and recommendations for accommodations and/or assistive technology.

Chronic Medical Condition

The evaluation should:

  • be submitted on letterhead (or a standardized medical documentation form provided by the college) by a qualified health professional;

  • be within the past six (6) months and, in case of changes, new documentation needs to be submitted;

  • identify medication, if any, and include information describing the possible impact of the medication upon academic performance; and

  • identify functional limitations in the academic environment and recommendations for accommodations and/or assistive technology.

Substance Abuse /Chemical Dependency

The evaluation should:

  • be submitted from a qualified professional with experience in the field of Chemical Dependency;

  • be current (within one (1) year of submission);

  • identify academic functional limitations and recommendations for accommodations; and

  • include treatment program and medication information in the report.


Consult with the Director of Disability Services on campus.

Prepared by the CUNY Committee on Student Disability Issues – Documentation Guidelines Subcommittee.

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