[Nfbk] Cathryn Bonnette, A Blind Woman, Becomes Lawyer After Winning Injuction Against Bar Examiners

Nickie Pearl njp at insightbb.com
Thu Dec 8 12:55:31 UTC 2011

-----Original Message----- 
From: David Andrews
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2011 7:17 PM
To: david.andrews at nfbnet.org
Subject: [Blindtlk] Cathryn Bonnette, A Blind Woman, Becomes Lawyer After 
Winning Injuction Against Bar Examiners

>WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- A blind woman was sworn in to the DC bar Monday to 
>become a lawyer,  marking the end of an 8 year battle with bar examiners in 
>two states to allow her and other blind candidates to use adaptive software 
>of their choosing to take the test.
>Even so, the National Conference of Bar Examiners continues to resist 
>allowing blind candidates to take the bar exam on the terms of the blind 
>Cathryn Bonnette has sued the NCBE in California and in DC during her quest 
>to take the bar exam with the help of adaptive software that is used by 
>hundreds of thousands of blind people nationwide.  The software translates 
>text in electronic documents into speech that the blind user can hear and 
>respond to.
>Judges in 3 states and the District have issued injunctions in favor of 
>students, but the NCBE argues that the judges have overstepped their 
>authority because the organization offers other accommodations for blind 
>candidates, such as in-person oral and braille exams.
>In a court brief, the NCBE cites "legitimate cost, security and other 
>programmatic concerns."
>Bonnette says the NCBE should stop resisting. "You graduate law school. 
>You've done well, and all of a sudden to take that licensing exam you can't 
>get the software you need."
>After winning an injunction in DC, Bonnette passed the bar exam in July 
>using the translational software she is comfortable with.
>After her swearing in as a lawyer, Bonnette said she plans to advocate for 
>other disabled people in battles for access.
>Law students in Maryland have so far been unable to force the NCBE to allow 
>the software on that state's bar exam.
>"They're forcing us to fight a state-by-state battle Bonnette complained.
>News story here: 
>Michael Richardson, MPA
>Assistant Director/Counseling Services Coordinator
>University of Washington
>Disability Resources for Students
>448 Schmitz Hall
>Box 355839
>Seattle, WA 98195-5839
>Ph: 206.543.8924 TTY: 206.543.8925 Fax: 206.616.8379
>mike67 at uw.edu

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