Our Mission

The North Carolina Legal Education Assistance Foundation Helps North Carolina Lawyers Pursue Careers In Public Service Through Law School Loan Repayment Assistance.

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NC LEAF provides loan repayment assistance for eligible attorneys employed as prosecutors, public defenders and legal services providers.

Mission of NC LEAF: to assist in the recruitment and retention of public interest attorneys by providing loan repayment assistance for law school debt.

Background: Equal access to justice is a cornerstone of our legal system. NC LEAF encourages attorneys to pursue careers in public service through an educational loan repayment assistance program. Rising law school debt and low salaries in public service positions present enormous impediments for law graduates committed to public interest careers. NC LEAF helps insure that skilled lawyers continue to aid the underserved citizens of our state by providing financial assistance towards relief for law school debt. 

The problem: Student loan is consistently cited as the overwhelming reason why attorneys decline or leave positions as prosecutors, public defenders and legal services providers. The vast majority of law students borrow to finance their legal education and the rising costs have imposed staggering debt, an average of $110,000 for new graduates in North Carolina. With starting salaries at $40,366, it is difficult to accept low paying employment and satisfy a mortgage size monthly debt load.

 Assistance: With limited  funding available, priority will be given to supporting public interest attorneys hired between August 2015 and September 2016 . NC  LEAF is committed to assisting those with the least ability to repay law school loans based on debt load and household income. Applications will be accepted from public interest attorneys who have not previously received NC LEAF loan repayment assistance. The 2017 application period is now closed.

Mecklenburg County applications are due by 5 PM Friday, November 4, 2016. Details found under the Application tab.