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The Loan Assistance Repayment Program ("LRAP") was established to help encourage recent law school graduates to enter the public sector. State legislatures, government agencies, along with various legal associations and groups realized that many outstanding law students and attorneys were not able to work in the field due to the burden of repaying back expensive law school loans. The programs which vary in nature, are funded and administered by various sources and agencies.

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Today there are 23 states which have some sort of LRAP [1]. Many more states have bills that are currently being drafted and introduced into legislation. Most LRAP's, like California's, have provisions which state that the program will be a supplement to the assistance already provided by law schools to their graduates. Essentially stating that that an eligible candidate would not be able to participate in the program, unless and until all other avenues had been explored. Moreover, many law schools themselves have their own LRAP's in place. A good example is Columbia Law Schools LRAP.[2]


For many years, government agencies, whether at the state, county or local level, were at a disadvantage when it came to hiring recent law school graduates. Law students simply couldn't afford to enter those job markets due to the low pay and large amounts of law school debt. Legislatures therefore went to work trying to figure out how to fix this inherent dilemma. And so came to be the idea of an LRAP.

One example was California's LRAP. Born in the California Assembly as Assembly Bill 935[3] and authored by Robert Hertzberg, former Speaker of the Assembly, it was signed in 2001 by then Governor Gray Davis. However, funding for the program was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. If and when it does get funded, it will be administered by a state agency.


LRAP's are only as good as their funding. With dwindling operating budgets plaguing states nationwide, many are finding it difficult to get these programs off the ground. Some have been able to circumvent this roadblock by using pay as you go services to support the programs. For example, in New York[4], their LRAP is funded through a portion of the fee charged for criminal history searches.


Today, as 2010 comes to a close, states and public interest groups alike have determined that it is in their best interest, along with being good public policy, to recruit and retain outstanding attorneys. Although future law school graduates will enter a job market that is limited with respect to job opportunities, at least there is promise that when things do turn around, the public sector will be a reasonable option for their services. 


  1. http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/sclaid/lrap/statelraps.html
  2. http://www.top-law-schools.com/tls-guide-to-lrap-columbia.html
  3. http://www.legislature.ca.gov/cgi-bin/port-postquery?bill_number=ab_935&sess=0102&house=B&author=hertzberg
  4. http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAWS+&QUERYDATA=$$EDN679-E$$@TXEDN0679-E+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=EXPLORER+&TOKEN=09963287+&TARGET=VIEW

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