Thomas Skelton was poised to join the Illinois bar after graduating from John Marshall Law School and passing the statewide exam in 2017. But he was tripped by one final hurdle when the committee on character and fitness declined to certify him, pointing to ongoing symptoms of mental illness. Experiencing delusional thoughts while his application was under review, Skelton sent approximately 40 emails to the committee’s members impugning the integrity of their organization and the wider legal system.
Skelton’s attorneys, Holland & Knight legal profession co-chair Trisha Rich and appellate chair Laurie 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. Rich and Daniel spoke with ALM this week about the significance of their case, after filing their petition with the Supreme Court on Friday.
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