Durbin: Illinois Prosecutors and Public Defenders Eligible for More Than $350,000 in Student Loan Assistance

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that Illinois will receive $365,309 through the Department of Justice’s John R. Justice student loan repayment program. The funding, administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, will be used to help prosecutor and public defender offices retain and attract talented attorneys by providing student loan repayment assistance to state and federal public defenders and state prosecutors who agree to remain in their positions for at least three years.


“It is often very difficult for prosecutor and public defender offices to hire and retain good lawyers while offering starting salaries that are 3 to 4 times smaller than those in private firms,” said Durbin. “The John R. Justice program will give many of these talented lawyers in Illinois that are carrying mortgage-sized student loan debts a path into public service.”


The John R. Justice grant program was created by legislation – The John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act – that Durbin first introduced in 2003 and included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act that became law in 2008. The legislation was supported by the National District Attorneys Association, the National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Council of Chief Defenders, the National Juvenile Defender Center, the American Bar Association, the Conference of Chief Judges, and the American Law Deans Association.