On September 1, 2016, the statewide loan repayment assistance program (LRAP) administered by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation and the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts Board (PA IOLTA) will begin its seventh year of helping attorneys employed in IOLTA-funded civil legal services organizations better manage their undergraduate and law school debt so they can continue to provide free legal assistance to Pennsylvania’s poor and disadvantaged. Eligible attorneys will have until October 17, 2016, to submit the online application for loan assistance at www.paioltagrants.org.
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. 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 later doubled the support by doubling the pro hac vice fee from $100 to $200. In May of 2015, Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor and the court 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.
The LRAP program provides for 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.
Since its launch in 2010, the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance program has awarded more than 540 loans valued at more than $2 million to 191 attorneys employed by 29 different IOLTA-funded civil legal services organizations located across Pennsylvania.
For more information visit the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA LRAP page.