More than 88 percent of graduates of American Bar Association-approved law schools who sat for the first time for the July 2009 bar exam passed the test. The 88.2 percent rate is "believed to be the second-highest passing rate ever recorded for that group," the New York State Board of Law Examiners said yesterday in a statement.
In spite of a sharp downturn in legal hiring, a record number of candidates sat for the July exam. Of the 11,532 candidates who took the test, including first time, repeat and U.S. and foreign-educated test-takers, the overall pass rate was 72 percent, a 2.7 decrease from last year. The pass rate for all first-time takers was 80 percent.