Coping with the COVID-19 crisis as any law student can be overwhelming, particularly for the class of 2020 facing a postponed — and as of July 1, remotely-administered bar exam.
Massachusetts Bar Exam Updates
The Massachusetts State Bar Exam will be conducted remotely on October 5-6 2020. “The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court and the Board of Bar Examiners (BBE) have announced that, due to seating limitations and safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the September 30 and October 1 in-person Massachusetts administration of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) has been canceled. An alternative, remotely-administered exam for admission to the Massachusetts bar will be offered in lieu of the UBE on October 5 and 6, 2020.”
Character and fitness inquiries will not be impacted. Massachusetts e-filing period for petitions for admission closed on July 17. Find more on seeking admission to the Bar in Massachusetts here. Find more on sitting for the Bar Exam in Massachusetts here.
View FAQs Related to the October 2020 Massachusetts Bar Exam here. Answers note that the remote exam is not the full UBE and is not a portable score, but the BBE announced its initial listing of 7 jurisdictions offering reciprocity on July 27th.
An updated listing of reciprocal jurisdictions is available here. As of August 18, 2020, the list included the following — with more jurisdictions in the pipeline:
- New Hampshire,
- New York,
- New Jersey,
- Vermont, and
- Washington DC.
As of April 23, the Massachusetts SJC announced that bar admission will be delayed by no more than 8 weeks in its Plan for Law School Graduates. The 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 Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners welcomes questions, and you can remain anonymous. You by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
Coping with Impacts
The uncertainty from COVID-19 implications on the bar exam is extremely difficult for recent law school grads. An August 2020 NBC headline describes it as “Literal hell,” observing “how the pandemic made the bar exam even more excruciating for future lawyers.” (Emphasis added.) The article discusses the history of the exam, how the stakes have been raised, diploma privilege, and more. Attorney Jessica Chinnadurai, a 2018 graduate, offers her advice for those Facing Uncertainty After Graduating from Law School in a May 2020 ABA COLAP article.
Similarly, finding employment in a struggling economy isn’t easy, as reported recently by Forbes here. “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. Find all our resources related to Covid-19 in the legal profession here.
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.
Finally, it’s important to recognize that you’re far from alone in struggling with the economic impacts of the Covid-19 crisis. Seek the support you need.
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.