'Do Better': Holland & Knight Team Asks SCOTUS to Review Bar's Approach to Mental Illness
Legal Profession Co-Chair Trisha Rich and Appellate Chair Laurie Daniel were interviewed by The American Lawyer about the bar's approach to mental illness during their admissions process. They say the Illinois bar violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it denied admission for law-school graduate Thomas Skelton who is undergoing treatment. Ms. Rich and Ms. Daniel say the committee ignored testimony showing that he has his symptoms under control, thanks to medication. And they’re now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a ruling by the Illinois justices that let the state bar committee’s decision stand. They contend that the licensing board is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing Skelton reasonable accommodations in certifying his admission.
“It seems to me that the Illinois bar issue similarly reflects some institutional arrogance, where the bar acts like a sovereign and it’s just going to decide things without providing the accommodation that’s required by the ADA,” Ms. Daniel said.
“We have a problem in the profession with mental health, and we want to encourage people to get better: enter the program, get the health they need and maintain that healthful lifestyle. What we think is really important is that when people do that, we show them that there is a path forward,” Ms. Rich concluded.
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