The Ups and Downs of the Just-Released NY Bar Exam Results
New York has just released the results of its July 2021 bar exam, leaving California as one of the last major jurisdictions to still be holding off on releasing results. California is not expected to report results until at least November 12th.
For those keeping score, New York’s results were a bit of a mixed bag. The overall 63% pass rate for 2021 was far lower than the overall 84% pass rate for those who took the exam in October 2020, the last test that had a comparable number of exam takers.
But the New York State Board of Law Examiners cautioned that those two exams are really not in the same category.
Both were administered remotely, but the October 2020 exam was shortened by half, while the July 2021 was a full-length Uniform Bar Exam.
New York’s latest results are far more in line with its results from 2019 (pre-pandemic), when the overall pass rate was 65%.
New York’s July 2021 first-time pass rate among graduates of American Bar Association-(ABA) accredited law schools actually improved by one percentage point over 2019, to 87%.
Many states have reported declines in year-over-year pass rates, though larger jurisdictions have fared significantly better this cycle. Florida’s first-time pass rate remained steady at 71.6% this July. And Texas’ overall July 2021 pass rate of 68% falls in between the results of the two exams it gave last year—a full-length, in person exam in September that yielded a nearly 77% overall pass rate and a shortened remote exam in October that had a 60% pass rate.
All states are currently expected to return to in-person testing for the February 2022 bar exam, as the National Conference of Bar Examiners is not giving states the choice between a remote and an on-site exam. However, many states are making alternate preparations in any case, in the event that another unexpected pandemic surge causes them to have no choice but to hold a remote exam yet again.
You can read more about the bar exam results here.
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