CA Bar Accommodations
You Deserve an Equal Opportunity

Studying for (and passing) the California Bar Exam or Uniform Bar Exam (“UBE”) is never easy…and working with a disability only complicates an already difficult task.

But it shouldn’t have to.

Luckily, by applying for California Bar Exam accommodations, you can level the playing field and compete on an equal basis with other students.

What Is Considered a Disability?

The Rules of the State Bar of California define a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more of an applicant’s major life activities, and limits an applicant’s ability to demonstrate under standard testing conditions that the applicant possesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities tested on an examination.”

While the rules mention only “physical and mental impairments,” there are a wide variety of conditions that fall under this umbrella. Even temporary conditions—such as pregnancy, broken bones, and breastfeeding—may qualify for California bar exam accommodations.

  • ADHD
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Emotional illness
  • Hearing impairment
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mental illness
  • Physical disabilities
  • Psychological issues
  • Vision impairment
Student in wheelchair studying
Common Bar Exam Accommodations

Thankfully, the California bar recognizes that disabilities do not make you unqualified to practice law—you might just need some accommodations to give you the same chance of success as other applicants.

Depending on the nature of your disability, typical accommodations include:

  • wheelchair access
  • permission to dictate to a typist or digital recorder
  • separate testing room
  • customized examination materials (i.e., Braille, large print, etc.)
  • permission to bring and use specific items or medical aids
  • extended testing schedule

An extended testing schedule is the most common, with options for 1-¼ time, 1-⅓ time, 1-½ time, or double time. You shouldn’t expect more than double time over a four-day period, and even then those accommodations must be supported by documentation.

Common California Bar Exam Accommodations
Applying for California Bar Exam Accommodations

As you might imagine, nothing is guaranteed and denials are common. So what can you do to increase your chances of an accommodation?

Because physical disabilities are easier to prove, they are more likely to be accommodated. Other disabilities may be more difficult (but not impossible!) to verify.

You are much more likely to be granted a California bar exam accommodation if you have a history of receiving other accommodations throughout your education. If you haven’t already, go to your school’s Disability Resource Program and ask to be tested (the earlier, the better). The more semesters you can show receiving accommodations, the more likely you will receive accommodations for the Bar Exam.

If you haven’t received any accommodations thus far, seek out any and all doctors, specialists, aides, and other professionals who have treated or managed your condition in the past. Their records will be invaluable at proving your case to the California bar.

You can apply for California bar exam accommodations as early as you wish…so do it as soon as possible.

Reviewing a petition for accommodations typically takes a minimum of 60 days. If the committee needs additional information, it may take even longer. Filing early gives you plenty of time to comply with any requests and appeal a denial (if necessary).

Hands on Braille book
What If My Accommodations Are Denied?

Unfortunately, there is always a chance that your request for accommodations will be denied. My plan? Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

My bar tutoring strategy is to assume you will not receive the accommodations. If it’s denied, there are no setbacks. If your request is approved, we can always change things.

No matter who you are, your bar prep is always tailored to your unique needs. And if those needs are double time accommodations, your essay review and memorization programs will match.

What can you do if your California Bar accommodations are denied.
California Bar Exam Accommodations
Good Luck on the Bar!

My legal career began before law school, in the early ’90s, when I worked at the Justice Department’s Coordination and Review Section helping enforce Title II of the ADA. I helped students obtain accommodations for the Bar Exam and helped investigate some State Boards of Bar Examiners to help them improve their Character and Fitness inquiries.

Twenty-five years later, it’s still a huge part of what I do.

Students with disabilities are never treated with pity, in my program, only respect. You are equally qualified to practice law and I will use everything at my disposal to maximize your chances of passing your Bar Exam.

Curious to learn more? I can’t wait to hear from you!

No Matter Where On Earth You Are

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Recent Testimonials

Devika Sagar, Esq.

I cannot endorse Steven Harris enough! He helped me pass the California Bar Exam on my first attempt. His style of teaching was very effective for my learning style and I appreciated his outlines. I have gone through many outlines and rule books but I have to say that Steven’s study materials were very well organized and made the most sense. The material was also organized in a way to help me easily memorize the rules prior to the exam. I remember opening up the first page of the essay portion of the exam and internally screaming “Yes! I got this!” There were moments during the tutoring process where I felt unsure and not confident that I had the ability to pass, but Steven reassured me and helped guide me on my weak points. Overall I’d say that the one-on-one guidance and attention during bar prep is unmatched and is extremely beneficial to passing the California Bar Exam on the first try!

Gabrielle Sue

Hi Professor. Not sure if you remember me, but I took your Critical Studies I class at UC Hastings in Fall 2021. I didn’t mention it at the time, but I was actually set to take the February 2022 exam, not the July exam like most folks in the class. Well, I just wanted to say THANK YOU because I got the results a few weeks ago and I passed. I know I don’t get the score breakdown, so it’s entirely possible that my MBE score had carried me, but I can’t help but think that taking your writing class allowed me to succeed. It definitely helped me jump into studying right away because I didn’t have to spend time learning what bar graders look for, or how to approach the PT. The Evidence Boilerplate came in handy on February’s test for sure, and I basically did all my PR rule memorization from your book. The boilerplate definitely helped for efficiency, but I also remembered the advice about time management–I was strict with my timing even on that essay, especially since the PT was in the same session. I’m so glad I decided to take your class!

Want Next-Level Tutoring Now?

If you are ready for a whole new approach to California Bar Exam Tutoring, customized to your life, Steven is waiting to speak with you. First-time? Repeater? Difficulty Learning? Scheduling Conflicts? No problem. Let’s pass this test!