BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Law School is the
only law school in the state to register a higher pass rate among
first-time candidates taking the July bar exam, advancing its pass
rate to 83 percent, 2 percent higher than the previous year.
The slight increase runs counter to a drop reported by 12 of New
York's 15 law schools, which reported lower pass rates, some by
substantial margins. Two other law schools – Brooklyn and
Columbia -- recorded the same pass rates.
Officials in the New York law school community have blamed the
decrease in pass rates for most law schools on the poor economy and
trends in law firm hiring that made those taking the bar for the
first time more anxious. Other experts see the rate fluctuations as
a natural settling of wide fluctuation swings.
On the other hand, the 2 percent increase in UB grads passing
the bar in 2010 compared with 2009 was welcome news for university
officials who praised the increase as confirmation of the
commitment of its students and the effectiveness of the law
school's ability to prepare its students for the legal
"We are extremely pleased to see the improvement in the bar
passage, as it is a testament to the academic strength of the law
school and our highly talented students," said Lilley V.
Wiley-Upshaw, UB vice dean for admissions and financial aid. "As
New York State's law school, our graduates are practice-ready and
well prepared for the difficult New York Bar exam and a successful
career in law."
Charles Patrick Ewing, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and
vice dean for legal skills, said UB's consistently improving bar
passage rate is evidence the law school's attempts to improve the
quality of the student body is working.
"We also have made a concerted effort to improve the commitment,
work ethic and professional socialization of our students and to
offer them greater opportunities to develop the kinds of skills
that will make them practice-ready lawyers by the time they
graduate," says Ewing. "Foremost among those skills are legal
analysis and writing, both of which are critical not only to all
forms of legal practice but to the ability of our students to do
well on the bar examination.
"With continuing curricular improvements, such as our new Legal
Skills Program and its heavy emphasis on analytical and writing
skills, we expect to see our bar pass rate continue its upward
trend for many years to come."
The passage rate is based on the results from 11,557 candidates
who sat for two days of testing in Manhattan, Albany and Buffalo on
July 27 and 28.
Since its founding in 1887, the University at Buffalo Law School
-- the State University of New York system's only law school -- has
established an excellent reputation and is widely regarded as a
leader in legal education. Its cutting-edge curriculum provides
both a strong theoretical foundation and the practical tools
graduates need to succeed in a competitive marketplace, wherever
they choose to practice. A special emphasis on interdisciplinary
studies, public service and opportunities for hands-on clinical
education makes UB Law unique among the nation's premier public law