skip to Main Content
MA Bar Exam Postponed: How Law Students Can Cope With The COVID-19 Crisis

MA Bar Exam Postponed: How Law Students Can Cope with the COVID-19 Crisis

Coping with the COVID-19 crisis as any law student can be overwhelming, particularly for the class of 2020 facing a postponed bar exam. In good news, the Massachusetts SJC now has a plan in place.


Massachusetts has postponed the July Bar Exam until Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1, 2020. See the March 30th press release here. New York and Connecticut have also postponed their July Bar Exams, and the ABA predicts more will follow, noting petitions made to the National Conference of Board Examiners to cancel As reported on, the NCBE has already added a Fall exam, and will decide about the July exam no later than May 5. Find NCBE COVID-19 Updates here. Find more on sitting for the Bar Exam in Massachusetts here.

As of April 23, the Massachusetts SJC has announced that bar admission will be delayed by no more than 8 weeks in its Plan for Law School GraduatesThe plan includes remote contingencies in case the Bar Exam cannot safely be administered in-person on the scheduled dates and expedited character & fitness reviews by mid-to-late December. Bar admission ceremonies are now scheduled for the week of January 11th (from the week of November 16th).

The uncertainty from COVID-19 implications isn’t easy for law students. Law firms are considering delaying summer associate classes, as a recent headline notes. “Law students have been in a vulnerable position in all of this mess,” Kathryn Rubino observes in her ATL report on a $5 million law student emergency relief fund from AccessLex, providing $25,000 to each school to distribute per the school’s emergency relief criteria.

“I’ve been flooded with questions from students about what postponing the bar exam means for them and what they should be doing,” observes Law Professor and Bar Exam Coach Kerriann Stout. Find her tips for law students here, including remembering that you’re not alone, staying informed but not consumed, and being patient about making contingency plans.

Taking it one day at a time is a key strategy noted in our earlier post on COVID-19: Anxiety and Coping in the Legal Profession. Another key strategy discussed is focusing on what you can control and accepting what you cannot — as well as practicing mindfulness, practicing self-care, making time for connection, and more.

The Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners welcomes questions, and you can remain anonymous. You by email to, or by telephone at (617) 482-4466. The Board of Bar Examiners welcomes these inquiries. Telephone inquiries may be handled anonymously at the request of the caller. And for questions related to your feelings and thoughts, we provide an Anonymous Q&A feature here on the LCL MA website.



We’ve launched new Free & Confidential online weekly support meetings throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Our Law Student Support Group will meet via Zoom on Mondays from 2pm – 3pm, through June at least. And our ADHD Support Group will meet via Zoom on Wednesdays from 9am – 10am.

Undeniably tragic and challenging, this crisis — like all stress — can also been seen as opportunity. If COVID-19 has created an obstacle on your career path, you might still be able to find helpful experience and connections — possibly not where you expected. You might build resilience, and even get recognition for it. For those who can find time — even if in small increments — to focus on creating an intentional career development plan, our free Career Development for Lawyers Workbook Series can help, with individual workbooks on Strengths, Values, Brand, Purpose, and Plan. You don’t need to complete every activity to get some insight, and even just browsing the structure can give you guidance on how to take control of your career.


   Free & Confidential Consultations:

Law students in Massachusetts can schedule a Free & Confidential consultation with one our licensed therapists, practice advisors, or both. Find more here.


Back To Top