Attorneys employed by the 38 IOLTA-funded civil legal services organizations providing free legal services to Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens have until midnight on October 15, 2015, to submit their online applications for student loan repayment assistance from the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance Program (“LRAP”). The application is available at www.paioltagrants.org.
The LRAP provides one-year loans, payable to qualified attorneys quarterly, with a 12-month employment requirement at an IOLTA-funded organization. The amount of loan repayment assistance provided is determined by the number of eligible applicants and the amount of funding available. Providing a participating attorney remains in qualified employment and continues to meet the program’s other eligibility requirements, the attorney can apply for and receive up to ten, one-year loans over his/her tenure in qualified employment. The LRAP loans must be used to repay loans incurred for undergraduate and law school educational costs and are forgiven at the end of each year if the eligibility requirements have been met.
The LRAP is a collaboration of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the PA IOLTA Board and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The 2006 Report and Recommendation of the PBA Task Force on Student Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Assistance advocated for the establishment of a statewide LRAP. The IOLTA Board identified and recommended pro hac vice fees, the admission fee charged to out-of-state attorneys seeking to enter an appearance in a Pennsylvania case, to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as the revenue source to support the program. In 2007, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ordered the establishment of the pro hac vice fee in Pennsylvania, dedicated the revenue to the support of the LRAP and in 2010 doubled the support by increasing the pro hac vice fee from $100 to $200. Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor and the court have recently reaffirmed the court’s commitment to increasing the pool of attorneys available to provide civil legal services to Pennsylvanians who cannot afford them by increasing Pennsylvania’s pro hac vice fee to $375, an amount still less than that charged by many other states.
Since its launch in 2010, the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance program has awarded more than 400 loans valued at more than $1.5 million to 163 attorneys employed by 29 different IOLTA-funded civil legal services organizations located across Pennsylvania.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA LRAP visit http://www.pabarfoundation.org/what-we-do/pa-iolta-loan-repayment-assistance-program/.