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Bar News - June 8, 2007

Foundation Offers Repayment Aid

The NH Bar Foundation Board of Directors established the Law School Loan Assistance Program in 1999 for the purpose of enabling non-profit law agencies to offer a significant employment benefit in their recruiting and retention process. All staff attorneys at NH Legal Assistance, Legal Advice & Referral Center, Disabilities Rights Center, and NH Pro Bono Referral Program, are eligible to apply.

John Tobin at NH Legal Assistance initiated the discussions with the Bar Foundation that eventually led to the creation of the Loan Assistance Program. Every year since, NHLA has prepared the necessary documents, screened potential recipients from the four agencies, and made funding recommendations to the Bar Foundation based on the established formula. Lawyers apply through the agency they work for. The program is funded annually, as revenue allows, through an IOLTA Grant from the Bar Foundation.

The amount of the benefit is calculated by a formula that considers an attorney’s full- or part-time status, outstanding law school loan debt, and law school loan assistance they may be receiving from other programs. Unlike similar programs across the country, the NH Bar Foundation’s program does not take other household income into account, nor does the program provide a cap on the amount awarded or number of years an attorney may participate. The Bar Foundation enters into a contractual arrangement with each attorney. If the employment requirement is satisfied, the Bar Foundation forgives the loan it makes each year. Due to the Bar Foundation’s 501(C) 3 status and the fact that none of the recipients work for the Bar Foundation, there is no tax liability for attorneys attached to this employment benefit.

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