Loan Repayment Assistance Program



The Oregon State Bar is pleased to announce its new Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). The Oregon State Bar recognizes that substantial educational debt can create a financial barrier which prevents lawyers from pursuing or continuing careers in public service law. The mission of the OSB LRAP is to attract and retain public service lawyers by helping them pay their educational debt.



College Cost Reduction and Access Act


Lawyers interested in this program may also be interested in reading about two federal programs: 1. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, signed into law in October, 2007; 2. Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program.


Detailed information about these programs and Equal Justice Works

A summary of the OSB LRAP Policies and Guidelines follows:


Program Eligibility


Qualifying Employment: Qualifying employment includes employment as a practicing attorney within the State of Oregon with civil legal aid organizations, other private non-profit organizations providing direct legal representation of low-income individuals, as public defenders or as deputy district attorneys. Judicial clerks and attorneys appointed on a case-by-case basis are not eligible.

License/Residency/Graduation Requirements: Program applicants must be licensed to practice in Oregon. Program participation is not limited to graduates of Oregon law schools or to Oregon residents, provided the applicant works in Oregon.

Salary Cap: Applicants with salaries at the time of initial application greater than $60,000 will be ineligible for Program participation.

Eligible/Minimum Debt: All graduate and undergraduate educational debt in the applicants name will be eligible for repayment assistance. Applicants with eligible debt at the time of initial application less than $35,000 will be ineligible for Program participation.



Program Benefits


The Program will make a forgivable loan (LRAP loan) of up to $5,000 per year per Program participant for a maximum of three consecutive years. The Advisory Committee reserves discretion to adjust the amount of the LRAP loan and/or length of participation based on changes in the availability of program funding. The Program annually will forgive one year of loans if the Participant has been in qualifying employment the prior year and has paid at least the amount of his/her LRAP loan on his/her student loans. Only a complete year (12 months from, April 15, the due date of application) of qualifying employment counts toward LRAP loan forgiveness.



Program Procedures


Applications: Applicants must be members of the OSB already engaged in qualifying employment by the application deadline. Applicants may not commence the application process prior to receiving bar exam results.

Selection Criteria: Meeting the salary, debt and employment eligibility for the Program does not automatically entitle an applicant to receive a LRAP loan. If the Advisory Committee needs to select among applicants meeting the salary, debt and employment eligibility criteria, it may take into account the following factors:

  • Demonstrated commitment to public service;
  • Financial need
  • Educational debt to income ratio;
  • Extraordinary personal expenses;
  • Type and location of work; and
  • Assistance from other loan repayment assistance programs;

The Advisory Committee reserves the right to accord each factor a different weight, and to make a selection among otherwise equally qualified applicants.

The following factors, in addition to the applicants salary from qualifying employment, may be considered in determining applicant's income:

  • Earnings and other income as shown on applicants most recent tax return
  • Income–producing assets;
  • Medical expenses;
  • Child care expenses;
  • Child support; and
  • Other appropriate financial information.

If there are more eligible applicants than potential Program participants for a given year, the Advisory Committee will keep the materials submitted by other applicants for a period of six months in the event a selected individual does not participate in the Program.

Loan Repayment: Program participants who become ineligible for Program participation because they leave qualifying employment must repay LRAP loans, including interest, for any amounts not previously forgiven.



Program Timeline


April 15:
Applications must be postmarked or delivered to the Oregon State Bar office. If April 15 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is extended to the following Monday.

June 1:
Applicants notified whether they have been selected for Program participation

June 15:
Signed promissory notes due for all participants

July 1:
Initial LRAP loan disbursed



Application Forms


The next application deadline is April 15, 2014.

Send completed applications to: OSB Loan Repayment Assistance Program, 16037 SW Upper Boones Ferry Road, Tigard, Oregon 97281.

To be considered, applications must include all of the following documents:






Personal Statement: Attach a statement (no more than 2 pages) that describes your previous activities in the public interest field and your career plans for the next five years.



LRAP Participants


The LRAP Advisory Committee selected seven applicants to participate in 2007, the first year of the program, six applicants in 2008, seven applicants in 2009, seven applicants in 2010, eight applicants in 2011, and ten applicants in 2012. These lawyers practice in locations across the state and include public defenders, an assistant district attorney, and lawyers at various legal nonprofits that provide direct representation of low-income individuals.

LRAP Advisory Committee


Tim Gerking, Chair
(Medford)
Jackson County Circuit Court
Andrea Anderly
(Portland)
Gevurtz Menashe
Russell Barnett
(Portland)
Russell Barnett PC
Linda Eyerman
(Portland)
Gaylord Eyerman Bradley PC
Maureen O'Conner (Portland)

BOG Access to Justice Committee (Vice-Chair)

Marc Johnston
(Portland)
ONLD Member, Johnston Law Firm
Norma Freitas
(Salem)
Willamette University
Suzannah Newman (Portland) Legal Aid Services of Portland

For more information, contact Catherine Petrecca, cpetrecca@osbar.org, (503) 431-6355.