Financing Your Public Interest Career
Columbia Law School offers a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) that is among the most generous in the country to ensure that law school debt does not prevent graduates from entering the public interest sector.
At Social Justice Initiatives, we work with students and graduates to understand the financial opportunities and impact of a public interest career. In addition to a series of programs with staff and graduates talking about salaries, LRAP, cost of living, and the financial benefits of public interest careers, SJI has created a number of resources to help students and graduates understand their options:
More on Columbia Law School's LRAP Program
Want to talk to someone about your public interest finance questions? CLS staff are here for you. If you want to learn more about how to include finances in your long-term career planning, please contact Tory Messina. If you want to learn more about LRAP, contact Ms. Seandell James, by email or phone (212-854-1245), or drop by office hours between noon-2pm every Friday.
Enhanced LRAP Fellowships
Enhanced LRAP Fellowships are awarded to graduating students and qualifying clerks who have demonstrated dedication to and exceptional promise for leadership in public interest law. These fellowships cover all loans up to the cost of law school tuition for fellows whose annual income does not exceed $100,000, and the schedule of forgiveness is accelerated beyond that of the typical LRAP arrangement. Visit our Postgraduate Fellowships page for details on these opportunities (scroll down to the Public Interest Enhanced LRAP Fellowships section).
The Public Service Bridge Loan
The Public Service Bridge Loan assists graduating Columbia Law School JD students who have demonstrated a commitment to public service with the financial challenges of registering for a state bar, bar preparation courses, and living expenses by providing a LRAP-eligible loan for expenses up to $10,000. 3Ls interested in the Public Service Bridge Loan should stop by the Financial Aid Office (509 William & June Warren Hall) or email [email protected] ASAP with any questions. The Public Service Bridge Loan must be processed within the current spring term, which ends on May 11, 2018 - meaning that required documents must be in well before May 11. The Bridge Loan application can be found here (Lawnet login required) and must be completed and submitted along with the full LRAP application.