Swayed by repayment programs

December 7, 2009
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Last week, two large law schools announced updates to their loan forgiveness programs. The Berkley School of Law at the University of California and Georgetown University Law Center will now cover all law school loan debt for graduates who work in public interest areas for at least 10 years, with some exceptions, of course.


The schools’ programs are working in tandem with the College Cost Reduction & Access Act, the federal program that will forgive loan balances after the borrower has made payments for 10 years. Participants in the federal program have their monthly loan payments capped at around 10 percent of the borrower’s income. The Berkley and Georgetown programs will pay those capped monthly payments until the debt is forgiven by the federal government.


The schools’ programs will pay all capped costs for graduates making up to a certain salary amount – those who exceed that limit will have their loans paid back on a sliding scale.


The announcement from Berkley and Georgetown comes on the heels of news from Harvard Law School that it’s ending its program designed to help students because of overwhelming interest. Harvard launched it in 2008 and it would waive 3L tuition for students that committed to public interest jobs for five years after graduation.


Indiana recently restarted its loan repayment program thanks to funds from the Indiana Supreme Court. Indiana’s loan program is for attorneys working at civil legal aid organizations. The Indiana Bar Foundation’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program had been suspended due to low funds.


The four law schools in Indiana also list information on their Web sites about their respective LRAP programs.


After reading about the Berkley and Georgetown programs, I couldn’t help but wonder if law school applicants interested in public interest jobs would be swayed to attend a school which had a great loan repayment or assistance program like these. A Georgetown law professor was quoted in a news article as saying the school hopes it will attract more applicants with the program.


With a new emphasis on helping graduates with public interest aspirations repay their loans, or have them repaid completely, how much will this impact students going to “Big Law” firms? We hear that some students go to large firms only because of the crushing amount of debt they face after graduation. Will these types of programs cause more to go into public interest jobs because they won’t have to worry as much about their student loans?

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  1. Oh, the name calling was not name calling, it was merely social commentary making this point, which is on the minds of many, as an aside to the article's focus: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100111082327AAmlmMa Or, if you prefer a local angle, I give you exhibit A in that analysis of viva la difference: http://fox59.com/2015/03/16/moed-appears-on-house-floor-says-hes-not-resigning/

  2. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  3. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  4. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  5. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

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