7-201. Act, how cited.

Sections 7-201 to 7-210 shall be known and may be cited as the Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Act.

Source:Laws 2008, LB1014, § 19; Laws 2014, LB907, § 1.
Operative Date: July 18, 2014
7-202. Legislative findings.

The Legislature finds that many attorneys graduate from law school with substantial educational debt that prohibits many from considering public legal service work or work in less-populated rural areas of Nebraska. A need exists for public legal service entities and rural clients to hire competent attorneys. The public is better served by competent and qualified attorneys working in the area of public legal service and serving underserved rural areas. Programs providing educational loan repayment assistance will encourage law students and other attorneys to seek employment in the area of public legal service and in designated legal profession shortage areas in rural Nebraska and will enable public legal service entities and rural communities to attract and retain qualified attorneys.

Source:Laws 2008, LB1014, § 20; Laws 2014, LB907, § 2.
Operative Date: July 18, 2014
7-203. Terms, defined.

For purposes of the Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Act:

(1) Board means the Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Board;

(2) Designated legal profession shortage area means a rural area located within any county in Nebraska having a population of less than fifteen thousand inhabitants and not included within a metropolitan statistical area as defined by the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, and determined by the board to be underserved by available legal representation;

(3) Educational loans means loans received as an educational benefit, scholarship, or stipend toward a juris doctorate degree and either (a) made, insured, or guaranteed by a governmental unit or (b) made under a program funded in whole or in part by a governmental unit or nonprofit institution; and

(4) Public legal service means providing legal service to indigent persons while employed by a tax-exempt charitable organization.

Source:Laws 2008, LB1014, § 21; Laws 2014, LB907, § 3.
Operative Date: July 18, 2014
7-204. Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Board; created; members.

The Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Board is created. The board shall consist of the director of Legal Aid of Nebraska, the deans of Creighton School of Law and the University of Nebraska College of Law, a student from each law school selected by the dean of the law school, at least one of whom intends to work for a tax-exempt charitable organization primarily doing public legal service and at least one of whom is from or intends to practice in a designated legal profession shortage area, a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association who practices in a designated legal profession shortage area selected by the president of the association, and the chief counsel of the Commission on Public Advocacy.

Source:Laws 2008, LB1014, § 22; Laws 2014, LB907, § 4.
Operative Date: July 18, 2014
7-205. Board; chairperson; meetings; expenses.

The board shall select one of its members to be chairperson. The board shall meet as necessary to carry out its duties, but shall meet at least annually. The members shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses as provided in sections 81-1174 to 81-1177.

Source:Laws 2008, LB1014, § 23.
7-206. Legal education for public legal service and rural practice loan repayment assistance program; rules and regulations; contents.

The board shall develop and recommend to the Commission on Public Advocacy rules and regulations that will govern the legal education for public legal service and rural practice loan repayment assistance program. The rules and regulations shall include:

(1) Recipients shall be either: (a) Full-time, salaried attorneys working for a tax-exempt charitable organization and whose primary duties are public legal service or (b) full-time attorneys primarily serving in a designated legal profession shortage area;

(2) Loan applicants shall pay an application fee established by the rules and regulations at a level anticipated to cover all or most of the administrative costs of the program. All application fees shall be remitted to the State Treasurer for credit to the Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Fund. Every effort shall be made to minimize administrative costs and the application fee;

(3) The maximum annual loan amount, which initially shall not exceed six thousand dollars per year per recipient, shall be an amount which is sufficient to fulfill the purposes of recruiting and retaining public legal service attorneys in occupations and areas with unmet needs, including public legal service attorneys with skills in languages other than English and attorneys committed to working in designated legal profession shortage areas. The board may recommend adjustments of the loan amount annually to the commission to account for inflation and other relevant factors;

(4) Loans shall be made only to refinance existing educational loans;

(5) Information on the potential tax consequences of income from discharge of indebtedness;

(6) Recipients shall agree to practice the equivalent of at least three years of full-time practice in public legal service or a designated legal profession shortage area; and

(7) Other criteria for loan eligibility, application, payment, and repayment assistance necessary to carry out the purposes of the Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Act.

Source:Laws 2008, LB1014, § 24; Laws 2014, LB907, § 5.
Operative Date: July 18, 2014
7-207. Commission on Public Advocacy; applications; board; recommendations; certification of recipients.

The Commission on Public Advocacy shall accept applications for loan repayment assistance on an annual basis from qualified persons and shall present those applications to the board for its consideration. The board shall make recommendations for loans to the commission, and the commission shall certify the eligible recipients and the loan amount per recipient. The loans awarded to the recipients shall come from funds appropriated by the Legislature and any other funds that may be available from the Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Fund.

Source:Laws 2008, LB1014, § 25; Laws 2014, LB907, § 7.
Operative Date: July 18, 2014
7-208. Commission on Public Advocacy; solicit and receive donations.

The Commission on Public Advocacy may solicit and receive donations from law schools, corporations, nonprofit organizations, bar associations, bar foundations, law firms, individuals, or other sources for purposes of the Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Act. The donations shall be remitted to the State Treasurer for credit to the Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Fund.

Source:Laws 2008, LB1014, § 26; Laws 2014, LB907, § 8.
Operative Date: July 18, 2014
7-209. Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Fund; created; investment.

The Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Fund is created. The fund shall consist of funds appropriated or transferred by the Legislature, funds donated to the legal education for public legal service and rural practice loan repayment assistance program pursuant to section 7-208, and application fees collected under the Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Act. Any money in the Legal Education for Public Service Loan Repayment Fund on July 18, 2014, shall be transferred to the Legal Education for Public Service and Rural Practice Loan Repayment Assistance Fund. Any money in the fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act.

Source:Laws 2008, LB1014, § 27; Laws 2014, LB907, § 9.
Operative Date: July 18, 2014

Cross References