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When envisioning the start of her legal career, Anna Madrishin did not picture studying for the Massachusetts bar exam while crammed into a 400-square-foot apartment in Beacon Hill. Nor did she imagine waiting four months to take the test while job offers dried up.

But this is the reality she and many other graduating law students face as they navigate entering the profession during a global health and employment crisis.

"I have been looking for jobs, but it doesn’t seem like things are being posted," Madrishin said. "It’s definitely stressful because not only are the job prospects not really out there, but being delayed in taking the bar means we will be delayed in getting results."

The state’s Supreme Judicial Court announced in early April that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the late July bar exam would be rescheduled for Sept. 30 and Oct 1. A backup plan is being devised in case even those dates are not workable with precautionary measures in place.

All of it has left law students even more anxious during an already stressful time. Many firms have delayed start dates for new associates, some until January 2021, and summer programs have been trimmed down to eight or even six weeks. Meanwhile, law schools themselves are facing upheaval in the form of new online classrooms and tighter budgets.

"Many students are trying to find how to survive," said Boston University Law School Dean Angela Onwuachi -Willig, who worries there will be a higher fail rate on the bar due to increased stress.

Under pressure

The sweeping changes to the legal landscape brought about by the novel coronavirus are recharting the traditional post-law school plan for many graduates."There is a lot of stress, there is anxiety, and there are the unanswered questions," said New […]

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