Federal government student loan repayments for law students serving as prosecutors or public defenders could help encourage attorneys to commit to public service, officials said.
Under legislation cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., attorneys would be required to commit to three years employment as state, local or federal prosecutors or public defenders to be eligible for the loan repayments, according to a press release from Domenici’s office.
They would be eligible for a maximum of $60,000, the release said.
“It is important that bright attorneys who are carrying law school debt not be discouraged from taking these jobs that incidentally often pay less than positions with private law firms,” Domenici said in his release.
Hollie Barnett, an assistant district attorney working in her first year with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office, said she thinks the legislation could be a good way to recruit public servants to the court system.
Barnett said New Mexico already has a similar program offering up to $6,000 a year that she found out about after she accepted her position in Clovis.
“I love being a prosecutor and anything that will help me stay here as long as possible would be beneficial,” she said.