Providing Assistance to Lawyers Working in Texas Legal Aid Offices
AUSTIN, Texas – The State Bar of Texas has announced a contribution of $1.75 million, over five years, to support the Texas Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program (SLRAP) that ensures lawyers will continue to be able to work at Texas legal aid programs. State Bar President Bob Black made the announcement during a Pro Bono Week luncheon in Austin, Oct. 24, hosted by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, administrator of the SLRAP.
“We’re trying to help young or new lawyers who have significant student loans and help address the access to justice issues that exist in the state for so many of the poor,” State Bar President Bob Black, said. The generous contribution from the State Bar of Texas is the largest donation made by a state bar association to a SLRAP program in the country. With this support from the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation expects to continue funding qualified applicants through approximately 2013.
Currently, 126 legal aid lawyers receive support from the Texas Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program. On average, these recipients carry over $86,000 in law school debt. The average starting salary for a legal aid lawyer is approximately $46,000. The average monthly loan payment for these attorneys is $676 and the maximum monthly payment through the SLRAP is $400.
The Texas Access to Justice Commission first created the SLRAP in 2003 to encourage and enable recent law school graduates—facing thousands of dollars in law school debt—to work for Texas legal aid organizations that are often unable to pay competitive salaries.
“The money will take a considerable amount of
stress off of my husband and me. We’re both
lawyers who have chosen paths in which we feel like
we can use our skills and training in ways that
serve those marginalized by society. But now
that we have a child, we feel the financial impact
of our decision in a different way.” Kristin
Zipple-Shedd, SLRAP recipient and staff attorney at
Catholic Charities in Houston said.
Recent law graduates that would like more information on the SLRAP, coordinated by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, can visit www.teajf.org for more details and program deadlines for 2012.
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Texas Access to Justice Commission
was created in 2001 by the Supreme Court of
Texas Access to Justice Foundation
created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the primary
state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in
Texas. The organization is committed to the vision that all Texans will
have equal access to justice, regardless of their income. The Foundation
administers a variety of funding sources, which are earmarked to assist
nonprofit organizations in providing legal aid to more than 100,000
Texans each year.
Contact: Kimberly Schmitt
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