Criminal Justice

Law-school debt relief is proposed for these Florida lawyers in pending bill

A pending bill in Florida would pay up to $44,000 toward the law-school debt of lawyers working a set number of years as state prosecutors or public defenders.

The sponsor of the bill is Florida Rep. James Waldman, D-Broward County, the Orlando Sentinel reports. He borrowed $30,000 nearly 30 years ago to attend the Shepard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University; the average debt in 2012 was $122,200 for grads at private law schools and $84,600 for public law school grads, the story says, citing ABA figures.

Waldman’s daughter is borrowing money to attend the St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami.

The story highlights the plight of Orlando lawyer Craig Forrester, who quit work as a Brevard County prosecutor because of the high payments on his $150,000 in student debt. His take-home pay was about $3,000 a month and his student-loan payments were $1,200-a-month. He is now in private practice.

“My loans have crippled me for life,” Forrester told the Orlando Sentinel.

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