Monday, August 13, 2007

Legal Services for New York City
Implements Loan Repayment
Assistance Program

In July 2007, Legal Services for New York City (LSNY) – the largest provider of free civil legal services to the poor in the United States – inaugurated its in-house loan forgiveness program. LSNY distributed $60,000 to help its lawyers and social workers pay their professional school debts. The goal of LSNY’s loan forgiveness program – to make it easier for public interest-oriented law students to take legal services jobs and stay in the program – is critical to the continued viability of legal services programs. In New York State, less than 14% of the legal needs of the poor are being met. In order to not lose ground, the ability to attract, hire and retain talented staff becomes ever more important.

LSNY’s loan forgiveness program is one of the few programs of its kind. While almost half of the nation’s law schools and 13 states now have Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (known as `LRAPs’), very few legal services providers have such programs. LSNY’s LRAP program supplements graduate school and government programs and has a progressive structure: the level of benefit to each participant is based on debt payments each year, household size and total household income. The benefit is provided in the form of one-year loans with principal and interest forgiven annually after the completion of two years of service.

For additional information about Legal Services for New York, go here.

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