Every year, a number of University of Pittsburgh School of Law graduates dream of a career serving those who receive inadequate or no legal assistance, by pursuing advocacy work in the public’s interest or serving the people through public sector employment. But these new lawyers face a substantial challenge. It is especially difficult for new law graduates with substantial student loan debt to take lower-paying jobs that would enable them to pursue their dream. According to a 2002 joint report by Equal Justice Works, the National Association for Law Placement and Partnership for Public Service, "survey results suggest that some of the best solutions to the educational debt crisis are loan repayment assistance programs and other similar programs." The Law School recognizes that the legal community has a responsibility to serve others and seeks to support its students in pursuing a broad range of career choices. Pitt Law has adopted three loan repayment assistance programs: a pilot Loan Repayment Assistance Program, the H. Rowena Herring Family Loan Repayment Program, and The Honorable Gary L. Lancaster Award for Public Interest or Service. The LRAP programs have been adopted in the hope that it may begin to remove obstacles to graduates interested in choosing a career of service and will serve as the foundation of a sustainable, permanent program of loan repayment assistance.
Pitt Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program
The Loan Repayment Assistance Program provides direct financial assistance to qualifying Pitt Law graduates who enter public interest careers by contributing a set sum of money to their student loan payments. Recent Pitt Law graduates may apply for consideration if they meet the requirements for "qualifying employment" and "qualifying income." Pitt Law graduates must work full-time for a public interest or public service employer. This includes public employers such as legal services entities, governmental and intergovernmental employers, non profit employment and public defender or prosecutor offices. An applicant income qualifies if his/her family's annual AGI is approximately 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (please see the application for more details).
H. Rowena Herring Family Loan Repayment Assistance Program
The H. Rowena Herring Program will assist a recent graduate working in an area of public interest related to child welfare. Recent Pitt Law gradautes may apply for consideration if they meet the requirement for "qualifying employment", "qualifying income" and past participation in a Clinical Program of the Law School dealing with the health and well-being of families and/or children. Preference will also be given to recent graduates who are residents of Pennsylvania. Pitt Law graduates must work full-time in an area of public interest related to child welfare.
The Honorable Gary L. Lancaster Award for Public Interest or Service
The Honorable Gary L. Lancaster Award will assist a recent graduate working in the area of public interest or service. Recent Pitt Law graduates may apply for consideration if they meet the requirements for the Pitt Law Loan Repayment Assistance program as well as submission of a letter of recommendation. Qualified graduates must be a western Pennsylvania resident from under-represented backgrounds, who graduated from the Law School with high academic achievement.
Graduates can apply for all of the Pitt Law Loan Repayment Assistance Program, the H. Rowena Herring Family Loan Repayment Assistance Program and The Honorable Gary L. Lancaster Award by completing one application and the employer certification. The application and supporting materials should be submitted by the January 15th deadline for consideration. For more information about the program and application procedures, please view the LRAP Information.