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
Want to talk to someone about your public interest finance questions? CLS staff are here for you. To learn more about how to include finances in your long-term career planning, please contact Tory Messina. To learn more about LRAP, contact Ms. Seandell James by email or phone (212-854-1245) or drop by her office hours between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. 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 information (scroll down to the Public Interest Enhanced LRAP Fellowships section).
The Public Service Bridge Loan
The Public Service Bridge Loan assists Columbia Law School J.D. graduates with the financial costs of state bar registration, bar preparation courses, and living expenses by providing a LRAP-eligible loan for up to $10,000. Applicants must have demonstrated a commitment to public interest/public service in their time at the Law School. The Bridge Loan application must be submitted with the full LRAP application. Applicants are eligible to apply for this loan during their 3L year. The application deadline for the Bridge Loan for the Class of 2020 is May 15, 2020.