Only 63 percent of those who took the New York State bar exam in July passed, a drop of 5 percentage points from 2017.
Those who attended ABA-accredited law schools and took the New York exam for the first time performed markedly better with an 83 percent passing rate but that was still down 3 percentage points from the previous year.
New York’s plummeting scores mirror performance on the bar examination nationwide, which sunk to a 34-year low, according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners, which released results on the Multistate Bar Examination in September.
The number of students taking the test in New York has decreased as well. The board examined 9,679 candidates, including U.S. domestic-educated candidates and foreign-educated candidates, first timers and repeat takers from July 24 to 25. That was 253 fewer candidates than last year, and the lowest number of candidates examined in a July administration since 2004.
The number of foreign-educated candidates who sat for the bar examination in July was a record 3,232, or 33 percent of all candidates, but the passing rate for this group decreased even more dramatically. Only 41 percent of foreign-educated candidates passed, a drop of 7 percentage points.
While the passing rates declined compared with July 2017, the state Board of Law Examiners noted that passing rates were generally in line with recent results. For example, the passing rate of 83 percent for first-time test takers who are graduates of ABA-approved law schools was the same rate achieved by that group in July 2016 and July 2014.
The New York Law Journal will post the names of all successful candidates online tomorrow and in print Thursday.
Successful candidates are certified for admission to the Appellate Division and must appear before the Committee on Character and Fitness before being admitted to the bar.