- District 12
According to a survey conducted by the American Bar Association, 90 percent of early-career lawyers have student loans, averaging $130,000. The same survey found that Black borrowers accumulated more debt to obtain their law degree compared to other borrowers of other racial/ethnic backgrounds, and that most young lawyers who borrowed for their education reported that their debt caused them to delay or forego pursuing traditional life milestones, such as purchasing a home, marriage, and starting a family. According to the survey, an overwhelming majority of borrowers – roughly 80 percent – indicated their debt influenced their choice of job or career in some way. Most borrowers reported that salary factored more heavily into their job selection than anticipated. Nearly a third of the sample indicated their position was less focused on public service or doing good than intended when they started law school. In Delaware, the Office of Defense Services, and the Department of Justice, the primary employers of attorneys working for the state, found that student loan debt was an enormous burden. Attorneys reported monthly payments between $500 and $1,000 and debts exceeding $100,000. The student loan crisis, coupled with sizable salary pay gaps between the state and private sector, has created recruitment and retention issues in the legal sector of state government and has made it difficult to provide improved access to justice. This Act establishes a Student Loan Repayment Program for attorneys employed with the State of Delaware working as attorneys. The program allows qualified applicants to apply for a payment from the State to the applicant’s lending agency to pay a portion of the applicant’s student loan debt. The purpose of the program is to improve recruitment and retention for legal service providers at a time when the state is having difficulty attracting attorneys passionate about public service. The amount of the award shall be no less than $2,500 and no more than $5,000 annually for 10 years. There is a salary cap of $110,000. The program will be administered by the Criminal Justice Council and overseen by a committee of stakeholders in the state’s legal system.
Signed by Governor
Passed By Senate. Votes: 17 YES 4 NO
Passed By House. Votes: 31 YES 9 NO 1 ABSENT
Amendment HA 1 to HB 380 - Passed In House by Voice Vote
Amendment HA 1 to HB 380 - Introduced and Placed With Bill
|Bill Text Versions||Format|
|Bill Text||PDF HTML|
|HA 1 to HB 380||HTML PDF|
Data on Open States is updated periodically throughout the day from the official website of the Delaware General Assembly.
If you notice any inconsistencies with these official sources, feel free to file an issue.