Albany Law School Bar Passage Rate Rises, Surpasses N.Y. State Average

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The passage rate for Albany Law School first-time bar exam takers climbed to 87% in results announced on Dec. 16 by the New York State Board of Law Examiners. This is a nine-point increase from 2019 and three points above the average pass rate for the 15 law schools in New York State.

“I don’t know if I can accurately describe how proud I am of all of the graduates who took the bar exam this October. They faced overwhelming challenges during a process that is already grueling under the best of circumstances. The pandemic added layers of complexity that make their success even more impressive,” said Albany Law School President and Dean Alicia Ouellette. “That so many of our graduates passed this exam is testament to their tenacity, smarts, and resilience, which are all attributes we know will carry them far in their legal careers.“

In total, 86 of the 99 Albany Law School graduates who took the bar exam for the first time in October passed. The increase came in spite of an unprecedented final academic semester this spring and a summer preparation period ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond that, the traditional in-person bar examination normally administered in July was cancelled and replaced with an emergency remote bar examination administered on October.

“This is fantastic news. My thanks and congratulations to all the Albany Law School faculty, staff and administration, and, of course, to our determined and resilient students who have worked so hard to achieve this result despite all obstacles in the way,” said Debra Treyz '77, chair of the Albany Law School Board of Trustees.

Beyond the students that took the exam, Ouellette credited a large support network of Albany Law faculty and staff that made the remote exam possible and placed Albany Law School seventh in New York in passage of first-time bar takers.

“I truly believe that this tremendous level of support, together with access to safe, reliable study and exam space, gave our graduates the best possible chance for success, a chance they capitalized upon through their hard work.  We are Albany Law,” Ouellette said.

“A special thank you to:

Director of Bar Success and Assistant Professor Joe Buffington, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law Kanika Johar, and every faculty bar coach and supporter worked tirelessly for our graduates.

Our library staff that returned to campus to open the library for bar studiers long before the rest of campus reopened this summer.

Student Service Center Advisor John Collins, Director of Human Resources Sherri Donnelly and Vice President for Finance & Business Victor Rauscher who all worked on testing, screening, and protocols to allow our bar takers to use our facilities for studying and testing.

Director of Facilities and Administrative Services Brian LaPlante, the facilities team, and all of our security staff who readied our library and facilities for reopening and ensured that protocols were followed.

Coordinator of Administrative Services Julie Pierce and all of our custodial personnel who cleaned and readied offices so bar takers had a safe and quiet place to study.

Our entire ITS staff that double, and triple, checked our internet connectivity to make sure administration of the two-day exam was possible.

And, of course, Admissions Services Specialist Laurie Stevens, Executive Assistant to the President and Dean Kelly Lussier, Writer and Communications Specialist Lauren Mineau, Admissions Recruiter and Counselor Nicole Casale, Senior Staff Accountant Nicole Castler, and Faculty Legal Assistant Sherri Meyer who proctored the exam for those that took the exam in our facilities.”

Overall, 5,150 candidates took New York’s October remote exam, 4,319 passed for an overall passing rate of 84%. Individual names of those who passed the bar will be available on the New York State Board of Law Examiners website on Dec. 17.

“The Board acknowledges that the pandemic added significant challenges for this year's graduates, including the delayed administration of the July exam, and we are grateful for their patience and cooperation,” the New York State Board of Law Examiners said in a statement. “The Board congratulates the 4,319 candidates who were successful on the October 2020 bar examination and is grateful to all those who helped make this most challenging bar administration a success.”