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FAQs about the Fund

The Ideal of Public Service and the Reality of Bills to Pay: All of our graduates will have the opportunity to make the world a better place through the practice of law. Those who want to focus on this goal by practicing public interest law face the twin obstacles of the high cost of legal education and low salaries of public interest law positions. The Public Interest Law loan Forgiveness Fund (PILLFF) is an economic helping hand for graduates practicing public interest law.

  • Q. Does the job I’ll be doing count as the employment in the field of Public Interest Law?
    • A. If you’ll be doing legal work, if the job requires the Juris Doctorate degree, and if your employer is a tax- exempt organization or a government entity or a political subdivision, then your job qualifies. The one exception is a job in a judicial clerkship. Summer employment during law school does not count. Jobs in SC have the highest priority for funding.
  • Q. Suppose I want to move out of the field of Public Interest Law after a year or two. What happens to the grant?
    • A. You must agree to remain employed in the field of Public Interest Law for two years for initial assistance and for one year for any subsequent assistance. If you don’t follow through, you may be required to repay some or all of the grant funds.
  • Q. Does it matter how much income I’ll have from my job and other sources?
    • A. Yes. All sources of income are taken into account and evaluated along with debt burden in making award determinations.
  • Q. Am I guaranteed an PILLFF assistance if I meet all of the qualifications?
    • A. No. Because funds for the program are limited, the PILLFF Committee will have to decide among many deserving applicants.
  • Q. Is PILLFF Assistance renewable?
    • A. Not initially. As the assets of PILLFF increase, assistance may become renewable in the future.
  • Q. How Much?
    • A. The amount of any PILLFF assistance will vary depending on such factors as the funds available to the PILLFF Committee and the number of awards made.
  • Q. How do I apply for PILLFF Assistance?
    • A. Application forms [pdf] and Rules are available online and in the Pro Bono Office. Read the PILLFF Rules, then complete the application form and return it the law school.

The Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund is administered by the Pro Bono Office in conjunction with the PILLFF Committee . If you have questions contact Pamela Robinson, 803-777-3405 or via email.

Complete applications must be received by June 30

Mail completed application to: Pamela D. Robinson

USC School of Law
1525 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29208


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