Neither the Obama administration nor Congress has gone along with a proposal from the American Bar Association to help some recent law-school graduates defer their student loans. But that doesn't mean the ABA has stopped pushing.
ABA President Carolyn Lamm said this week that the association is still trying to build support for student-loan relief for recent graduates. The National Law Journal reported in November that the ABA was lobbying the Obama administration on the issue, highlighting the plight of graduates who went into debt but have not found jobs because of the recession.
“What we can’t have is this situation of a generation of young lawyers squashed by debt,” said Lamm, a Washington partner at White & Case.
Lamm said that she or other ABA officials have met with aides on Capitol Hill, at the U.S. Department of Education, and in the White House to press their case, so far without success. “Wherever we have an opportunity, we share our views,” she said. “They’re very interested in education. They’re very interested in finding a way to help. I can’t say that we’ve found a solution yet.”
One pool of money the ABA has suggested is the $700 billion bailout of the financial sector, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program. TARP is scheduled to remain in place through October 2010, but Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said this month that he would limit the funds to only a few areas, including prevention of home foreclosures and lending to small and community banks.
This month, Congress approved two major appropriations bills to pay for the federal government’s operations through September 2010. Neither included money for law graduates’ student loans.