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Eight New York Law Schools Post Decrease in Bar Exam Pass Rates

In a report from the New York Law Journal, eight of the 15 law schools in the state of New York reported lower pass rates for those who took the bar exam for the first time in July. In 2011, eight of the schools posted improved pass rates for the previous year. The pass rate dropped to 85 percent.

New York Law School saw its pass rate hit 70 percent, which is a drop of 10 points from 2011. The drop in the pass rate caused the school to come in last amongst the state’s law schools. It came in four full percentage points below Touro Law Center.

The dean of New York Law, Anthony Crowell, said he was ‘very disappointed’ with the results of the bar exam.

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“No new dean wants to come into office with this kind of news,” he said. “This is not what I would have expected of the school and I know that the school is better than this, the students are better than this.”

Crowell noted that he has created a task force made up of 11 people that he calls “Foundations for Success.” The team is going to conduct “a top-to-bottom review” of the class that took the bar exam in July. It will also investigate other classes that took the bar and programs at the school to make sure that the students are offered as much “counseling and support as possible.”

“The credentials of the class that just took the July exam are consistent with the class that had the 94 percent pass rate,” he said. “Bar passes and jobs are inextricably tied,” Crowell said. “This is fundamental to the mission of our law school. I am more than confident we will bounce back in very short order.”

The school that came in with the number seven ranking was the City University of New York School of Law, which had a pass rate of 83.5 percent. This is good for close to a 17 point increase from 2011. The dean of the school, Michelle Anderson, said she was ‘pleased’ with the pass rate of the school.

“We won’t be satisfied until we produce consistently strong numbers five years in a row,” Anderson said. “This year we developed a bar mentoring program for recent graduates that we think made a difference, and we plan to continue to enhance our bar support program for future classes.”

Touro Law Center dropped from number nine on the list to number 14, a percentage drop to 74 from 83 in the pass rate. The dean, Patricia Salkin, said, “Three times in the past five years our pass rate has surpassed 80 percent. We are disappointed with this drop from last year’s 83 percent pass rate, and the faculty and I have already begun meetings to assess differences in the data from last year to this year and to identify strategies to implement immediately to ensure that the 2012 experience remains an anomaly.”

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