Assembly Votes to Help Attorney Serve the Public

May 09, 2007
Contact: Richard Woonacott @  (916) 319-3687

On May 3, 2007, Assembly Member Jim Beall, Jr.’s (D-San Jose) Bill (AB) 171 passed the Assembly Floor by a vote of 44-30.  This bill encourages young attorneys to take public interest jobs that provide legal help to the neediest in our society.

“Public interests attorneys are essential to ensuring justice for all,” said Assembly Member Jim Beall, Jr. (D – San Jose) upon passage of the bill, “because public interest attorneys help the most vulrenable in our society navigate the legal system.”

Assembly Member Beall introduced AB 171 to help young attorneys enter and remain in public interest law.  The massive debt accumulated from attending law school, can deter new graduates from choosing less lucrative careers in public service.  A recent study by the American Bar Association found that debt prevented two-thirds of law school graduates from considering a career in the public sector.

AB 171 helps public interest attorneys by providing school loan assumption.   AB 171 realigns the existing Public Interest Attorney Loan Repayment Program (PIALRP) with other loan assumption programs such as the Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE).  The program’s current design makes it nearly impossible for the California Student Aid Commission to operate it.  AB 171’s realignment will correct this problem.    AB 171 will also make employment in a county consel’s office eligible for the program.

"Reforming the Public Interest Attorney Loan Repayment Program will help new attorneys who want to make a difference in public interest law,” said Assembly Member Beall.

AB 171 will be heading to the Senate Education Committee next.