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Cardozo and CUNY Gain in Bar Pass Rates

Posted Dec 3, 2007 10:06 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law has nudged out higher-ranked Cornell for third place in a ranking of New York bar exam pass rates.

The top law school was New York University, with a 96 percent pass rate on the July 2007 bar exam, the New York Law Journal reports in a story reprinted by New York Lawyer (reg. req.). It was followed by Columbia, with a pass rate of 95 percent. Cardozo had a pass rate of 92 percent, up from 90 percent in July 2006 and 86 percent in July 2005.

The TaxProf blog, written by University of Cincinnati associate law dean Paul Caron, says Cardozo’s results are impressive, considering Princeton Review data showing Cornell students study more than students at any of the 169 schools it surveyed.

Also notable were the results from CUNY Law School, which saw 83 percent of its grads pass the bar, up from 62 percent in July 2005 and a dismal 50 percent in 2002, the New York Post reports.

The Post attributes the CUNY change to higher admissions standards. The New York Law Journal points to another change—the school now allows students to take a for-credit bar review course, authorized for ABA-accredited schools three years ago.

Mary Lou Bilek, associate dean for special projects at CUNY, known as the campus “bar czar,” says credit courses help students who cannot afford to devote time to non-credit bar review courses.

"When you give credit for [a bar prep] program, you remove an economic class bias," said Bilek, "as well as a bias against students who are older and have other obligations."

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