Prominent philanthropist Laurie Tisch will give $5 million to the Yeshiva University law school.
The gift to the Cardozo School of Law, announced Wednesday by the university, is earmarked to endow a loan assistance program for lawyers who choose to pursue public service.
Tisch, the daughter of media mogul Preston Robert Tisch, said in a news release that the gift will provide “forgivable loans” to lawyers to entice them into pursuing careers in legal assistance services, the district attorney’s office, government, human rights groups or not-for-profit organizations.
It has become increasingly difficult for the public sector to attract top attorneys because of the double burden of high debt and low salaries, according to a 2006 report from Equal Justice Works.
The fund will assist some 60 Cardozo graduates annually who hold law degrees and have full-time public service law-related jobs that pay less than $60,000 a year.
Recipients will receive an average annual grant of $4,500 and a total of $22,500 over five years to repay loans to pay for law school.
“The goal of my gift,” Tisch said, “is to provide access and opportunity for these top graduates to pursue such jobs and work for the common good while not having to worry about being able to meet their outstanding financial obligations.”