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Loan Forgiveness Programs for Public Interest Law
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Public Interest

Summary: There are a number of loan forgiveness programs available for attorneys interested in low-paying public interest law jobs.

No one likes to repay their student loans, especially after attending school beyond a bachelor’s degree. Luckily there are plenty of loan forgiveness programs if you know the right place to look. Law school graduates are not exempt from having plenty of options. Those interested in public interest law have great opportunities to get a little help on their monthly student loan payments.


Read Two Law Schools Increase Loan Repayment Programs for Students to learn more.

Public interest law jobs are notorious for not being the highest paying. With high student loan amounts that have to be paid back but a small monthly paycheck, it can impossible to take the legal services jobs that you want if you want to also be able to afford rent and food.

With the average entry-level legal service attorney only making $44,600 but accruing over $100,000 in loans, a job at a big law firm making $160,000 is more enticing. Public interest loan programs to keep law graduates interested in the low-paying jobs are structured in different ways and at the federal, state, and even law school level.

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See Northwestern Law Offers to Pay Loans of Public Sector Grads.

The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is new and only takes affect after ten years of paying back your loan. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program or Direct Loans, attorneys that have been making payments on time for ten years and work in a qualifying full-time legal job can have their loan forgiven. Qualifying positions include governmental entities and non-profit organizations.

The Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation Program applies to Perkins Loans. Attorneys working in positions such as public defenders, prosecutors, and lawyers for low-income families can have their loans forgiven at five years of employment.

Read Yale Law School Makes its Loan Forgiveness Program a Little Less Forgiving.

There are state loan repayment assistance programs that run similar to the federal programs but funded by other entities such as state legislatures, Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, private funders, and bar associations.




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