High Court Urged To Review Applying ADA To Bar Admissions
Partner Trisha Rich was quoted in a Law360 article about an Illinois bar applicant who contends he was rejected because of his history of mental illness. Thomas Skelton urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case so it can clarify whether the Americans with Disabilities Act is applicable to considerations of admission to state bars, and whether an applicant's disability and any related "reasonable" accommodations should be factors to be considered in making such determinations, according to his petition for certiorari. "The denial to certify Mr. Skelton creates harmful precedent by allowing … Illinois and other jurisdictions to improperly use mental health as a justification to deny applicants admission to their bar," the petition reads. "Accordingly, certiorari is warranted to resolve this increasingly recurring and consequential issue." Trisha Rich, Laurie Webb Daniel, David Elkanich, Matthew Friedlander and Christopher Heredia represent Mr. Skelton.
"As a profession, we should be fostering an environment both in practice (and in law schools) where people seek treatment without fear that doing so will be held against them," Ms. Rich said. "Lawyers and applicants to the bar should be judged on their conduct and their present fitness to practice law, and not by preconceived notions of mental health struggles."