Trial date set for law student who wanted more time on bar exam
CHARLESTON – Law school graduate Shannon Kelly and the West Virginia Board of Law Examiners have jointly set a July 1 trial on Kelly's claim that the examiners didn't fully accommodate his learning disorder when he took the bar examination.
Kelly claims he needs twice as much time as others taking the examination.
Last year, the law examiners granted him time and a half, printed his examination in 18-point type and provided a separate room so he could take the test by himself.
He failed the examination.
He applied to take it again this July, and he sued at U.S. District Court in Charleston for an injunction granting him double time.
District Judge David Faber denied the injunction, ruling that evidence did not establish that a request for double time was reasonable.
Faber ruled that Kelly failed to show he would suffer irreparable harm. He added that if he granted an injunction, the board and other applicants would suffer harm.
"If plaintiff is given the relief requested when the Board has determined such an accommodation is unnecessary, any harm to other applicants and the examination process itself cannot be undone," Faber wrote.
Kelly took the test with time and a half, big print and a silent room. The court record does not indicate whether he passed.
If he failed, he can take the examination again in February.
His suit against the examiners will proceed in Faber's court.
On Oct. 13, Kelly and the examiners jointly adopted a schedule leading to a July 1 trial.
They told Faber they will need discovery on whether Kelly's disability requires double time and whether the examiners must develop an appeal process for candidates seeking special accommodations.
They agreed on an April 8 deadline for depositions.
Edward McDevitt and Kristin Shaffer, of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff and Love in Charleston, represent Kelly.
John Hedges of Morgantown represents the law examiners.