Morris M. Shuster Public Interest Fellowship Program
The Morris M. Shuster Public Interest Fellowship Program provides educational loan repayment assistance in the form of forgivable loans to qualifying legal aid attorneys. Eligible attorneys must be employed full-time by nonprofit legal aid organizations receiving grants from Philadelphia Bar Foundation.
Practicing legal aid attorneys who have been employed at an organization for a minimum of three years may be eligible for up to $2,500; those who have been in practice for a minimum of five years may be eligible for up to $5,000.
In 2003, Morris M. Shuster, Esq. recognized the burden that student loan obligations may represent for public interest attorneys. He established the Fellowship as a means to help legal services organizations funded by the Bar Foundation attract and retain qualified attorneys and thereby help provide ongoing stability to Philadelphia’s legal services system.
A Generous Solution to a Pressing Need
Many people enter law school with a deep commitment to public interest legal services. Yet, upon graduation, they find their commitment threatened by significant law school debt.
A recent study found that such debt prevented 66% of students from entering public interest positions. And, according to legal service providers, many new lawyers are unable remain in such positions for more than a couple of years, because of financial demands created by law school debt.
In an exceptional philanthropic response to this problem, Morris M. Shuster worked with the Bar Foundation to establish a Named Endowed Fund with a gift of $100,000. Since 2003, the Shuster Fellowship has provided awards each year to deserving public interest attorneys to help them retire their law school debt. Morris Shuster's remarkable vision has since inspired an anonymous friend of the Bar Foundation to contribute an additional $100,000 to the Shuster Fellowship.
Since 2003, the Shuster Fellowship program has provided more than 30 legal aid attorneys with awards totaling over $160,000 to help retire their law school debt and continue to serve the public interest.
2016 Shuster Fellows Level 1 (up to $5,000):
Kyle Fisher – Pennsylvania Health Law Project
Thu B. Tran – Community Legal Services
2016 Shuster Fellows Level 2 (up to $2,500):
Kristina Moon – Education Law Center
Jane Nylund – Philadelphia Legal Assistance
Colleen Swim – Support Center for Child Advocates
For more information, please contact Jessica R. Hilburn-Holmes, Esq., Executive Director, 215-238-6347, [email protected].