The Aspiring Attorney with ADHD: Bar Accommodations or a Bar to Practice

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date



health and psychological barriers, bar passage, learning disabilities


This Article is the first in the academic literature to examine how a strict application of the childhood history requirement reduces the likelihood that applicants will receive ADHD accommodations on the bar exam based on race, sex, socioeconomic status, location, and age. Part One provides an introduction to ADHD, explaining the diagnostic framework and its limitations, specifically with regard to childhood diagnosis and adult ADHD. Part Two describes the legal and policy framework applicable to bar examiner agencies, focusing on the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). The Article sets forth, in Part Three, state bar policies and practices regarding ADHD accommodations. Within that context, Part Four demonstrates how the childhood history requirement exposes state bars to liability under the ADA. Part Five reveals how the childhood history requirement negatively impacts protected classes and, thus, the diversity of the legal profession. Finally, the analysis concludes in Part Six with specific, groundbreaking recommendations to address and mitigate the injustice that bar applicants from underrepresented populations in the profession face.