Law School Debt Crisis

With an economy stuck in neutral, student loan debt continues to weigh down recent law school graduates.  Some are working, but can’t afford to pay rent, buy groceries, and make student loan payments.  Others are struggling to get a solo practice off the ground.  Meanwhile, student loan collectors call relentlessly – in some cases daily.  Where is the relief?

Here are six ideas from blogger Brian O’Connell.  One option is state loan repayment assistance – offered by Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Vermont.  Read more about repayment assistance on the ABA Web site.  The Oregon program is described here.

Free Debt Relief Webinars

More student loan debt relief resources can be found at Equal Justice WorksFree Webinars can help recent grads navigate through the various options.  Upcoming programs include:

Repayment Assistance for Public Defenders, Prosecutors, and Legal Aid Attorneys

If you are a public defender or prosecutor, check out the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program (JRJ). The JRJ Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment assistance for state and federal public defenders and state prosecutors who agree to remain employed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years.  Legal aid attorneys can receive loan repayment assistance through the Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (CLAARP).

Check With Your Law School

Some law schools also provide help.  A complete list is available here.  All three Oregon law schools offer loan repayment assistance programs: Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark , University of Oregon School of Law, and Willamette College of Law.

Not Sure Where to Start?

Visit What Resources are Useful for Me?  on the Equal Justice Works Web site, consider joining the Equal Justice Works Student Debt Forum, and check out 7 Tips to Help You Confront Your Law School Debt from Law.com.  Also know that more help may be on the way, thanks to the ABA.  Last week, the ABA House of Delegates adopted a resolution to urge Congress to enact legislation to help law graduates with debt not covered by existing student-loan repayment exceptions.

Copyright 2011 Beverly Michaelis

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