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Neal Neal & Eng 1361 Pearl Street Eugene, Oregon 97401 Dear Mr. Neal: This letter is in response to your recent inquiry concerning the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act to your law office. The Americans with Disabilities Act authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities having rights or obligations under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the Act's requirements. However, it does not constitute a legal interpretation and it is not binding on the Department. Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits public accommodations from discriminating in the provision of goods, services and facilities on the basis of a disability. The Act and the Department's implementing regulation specifically include attorney's offices in the definition of public accommodation and require them to remove architectural barriers in existing facilities, where such removal is readily achievable. "Readily achievable" is defined as those activities which are easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense, keeping in mind the overall resources available to the public accommodation and the nature and cost of the action needed, among other considerations. With respect to the specific areas identified in your letter, you are obligated to ensure access to your facility for persons with disabilities, on a readily achievable basis. You may be required to install a ramp or other means of gaining physical access to your offices. You are required to make all modifications to bathrooms specified in the Accessibility cc: Record Chrono Wodatch Magagna Millerc.neal.pl FOIA Library arthur T. 9/9/92
01-01514 -2Guidelines, appended to the enclosed regulation, and are required to widen entrances in your office, to the extent that you can do these modifications without much difficulty or expense. Please note that there is no exemption in the Americans with Disabilities Act for buildings which have historic value. Indeed, even buildings eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places or designated as historic under State or local law are required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act to the maximum extent feasible. Where it is not feasible to comply in a manner that will not threaten the historic significance of the building, alternative methods of access must be provided. If you offer your clients the opportunity to make outgoing telephone calls on more than an incidental convenience basis, a TDD must be made available on request. In addition, you may be required to make other revisions or modifications to your policies and practices. For example, you are required to ensure effective communication with your clients who have disabilities. In some cases, this may mean that you will be required to provide some form of auxiliary aid, such as a sign language interpreter, for a hearing impaired client. I have enclosed copies of the Department's regulation under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as our Technical Assistance Manual. These materials will provide you with further guidance as to your obligations under the Act. I hope this information is of assistance to you. Sincerely, Joan A. Magagna Deputy Director Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act Enclosures (2) 01-01515