Tuesday, November 28, 2006
MyShingle takes a look at debt forgiveness for public sector crim. lawyers, prosecutors and defense alike: This article from the Chicago Sun Times, Debt Relief May Be In Sight for Lawyers, reports on the status of legislation originally proposed by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) back in 2003, that would grant student loan relief to public sector lawyers in the criminal justice system. From the article:
The average young lawyer from a private law school graduated with $78,763 in debt last year, according to the American Bar Association. The average graduate of a public law school owed $51,056. Durbin's office puts the numbers higher, with the average private law school graduate carrying $97,763 in debt, and public school graduates owing $66,810 . According to Murray -- who had $14,000 in debt when he graduated in 1983 -- the trend is forcing lawyers to leave the state's attorney's office, and persuading third-year law students not to apply. "It definitely weighs on me. I'm going to be paying it for the rest of my life," said assistant Cook County State's Attorney Jullian Brevard, who owes about $90,000.
From MyShingle: Durbin's legislation would alleviate the burden of student loans, and help prosecutors and defenders offices attract and retain top lawyers, who often leave when "big bucks beckon" from private sector jobs (the Enron task force attorneys are a recent example of this phenomenon, most of whom fled government for private practice once their prosecutions had concluded). The Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act would pay up to $10,000 a year of the law school loans of any prosecutor or public defender. To qualify, a lawyer would have to commit to three years of service. Loan assistance would be capped at $60,000 per lawyer and would apply only to loans made through federal programs...Many lawyers who accept prosecutor or defendants positions do so because they want the training, and are willing to make a financial sacrifice to get it. Loan forgiveness would make this choice easier, but I don't think that an extra $10,000 per year is going to give a lawyer set on earning $145,000 a year to think about a job with the Public Defender. By contrast, because fewer quality attorneys start their own solo practice, loan forgiviness would make a difference to those who choose to do so.