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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.

The 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 ensure 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:  Funding is available for public interest attorneys in Mecklenburg County.  A gift from the C.D. Spangler Foundation makes this loan repayment assistance program possible for 2020. Please contact for details.