Release Date: December 14, 2010
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 profession.
"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 schools.