New York State bar passage rates for UB School of Law graduates jump significantly

photo of the outside of a courthouse.

Published December 22, 2020

The New York State Board of Law Examiners announced the results of its first fully remote bar examination administered this past October. Despite a new emergency format and an ongoing pandemic, University at Buffalo School of Law graduates saw a significant increase in the passage rate for first-time New York State bar exam takers, jumping from 72.5% in 2019 to 83.9%.  While the overall first-time passage rate for graduates of any of the 15 law schools in New York State increased by 2.1%, UB School of Law saw an increase of 11.4%.

The passage rate for all UB School of Law graduates who took the October exam climbed significantly as well.  A total of 126 UB School of Law graduates took the New York State bar exam and 98 passed, a 20.3% increase from last year.

“Preparing for the bar examination is a very trying period under ordinary circumstances,” says Dean Aviva Abramovsky.  “Our graduates persevered despite a series of unexpected complications and extraordinary stressors.”

The law school and its Director of Academic Success, William MacDonald, worked with recent graduates as they navigated delays to the administration of the exam  - traditionally held in July -  and prepared for the new format.

"There was a real danger that the isolation, uncertainty, and delay caused by the pandemic could have battered our graduates' confidence and motivation,” says MacDonald.  “I held regular online group and individual meetings throughout the summer and fall to keep them informed about the many changes to the exam, to provide them with workshops and additional study resources, and to offer them a place to share both frustrations and strategies.

“That the graduates were able to maintain their sense of community and their momentum for twice as long as the bar exam usually demands indicates how admirably they will perform as practitioners."

During the two-day exam period, the School of Law provided accommodations within the building for graduates who required a safe and quiet space with reliable internet access. Faculty and staff volunteered to proctor the exam, and the law school’s information technology team remained vigilant to ensure its smooth administration.

“The law school community came together to provide as much support as possible. But the real stars are our graduates,” says Abramovsky. “Time after time, they remind us of what it means to be Buffalo strong.”

A total of 5,150 candidates took New York’s remote exam. A list of candidates who passed the examination is available on the New York State Board of Law Examiners website. [View Here].