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There’s no way to sugarcoat it: The law class of 2020 has graduated into a uniquely challenging job market that has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many states have delayed the bar exam until October, some graduates have seen job offers rescinded or start dates pushed back, while others have found that legal employers have tapped the brakes on hiring altogether. And then there is the issue of student loan debt—with plenty of new lawyers borrowing $100,000 or more to finance their law degrees.

All this means many newly minted J.D.s are facing added financial strain on top of the typical stress of getting licensed and finding a job. Law.com recently caught up with Derek Brainard, the director of financial education at nonprofit legal education organization AccessLex Institute, to get his advice for new law grads feeling the money pinch. Brainard said that this year’s crop of J.D. grads need to advocate for themselves and get creative to fill in their temporary financial gaps. His answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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Karen Sloan

Karen Sloan is the Legal Education Editor and Senior Writer at ALM. Contact her at [email protected] On Twitter: @KarenSloanNLJ Sign up for Ahead of the Curve—her weekly email update on trends and innovation in legal education—here: https://www.law.com/briefings/ahead-of-the-curve/

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