Ten LSU Law alumni practicing in the public sector have been selected as recipients of the 2021 Loan Repayment Assistance Program and will each receive $5,000 to help repay their law school student loan debt.
LSU Law launched the Loan Repayment Assistance Program in 2020 with support from the Kendall Vick Public Law Foundation, and awarded $5,000 each to five alumni. Thanks to increased funding from the Louisiana Bar Foundation Kendall Vick Public Law Fund, LSU Law was able to make twice as many grant awards this year.
“We are excited to provide even more of our recent graduates in public service with grants to help repay some of their student loan debt this year, and we are grateful for the Kendall Vick Public Law Foundation and Louisiana Bar Foundation for their generous support to help us make the Loan Repayment Assistance Program possible,” said LSU Law Interim Dean Lee Ann Wheelis Lockridge.
The Loan Repayment Assistant Program aims to help remove barriers to public interest practice faced by recent graduates who have incurred significant debt to finance their legal education. To be eligible, LSU Law alumni must have graduated within the past five years and be employed full time in eligible public service positions in Louisiana, including 501(c)(3) charitable organizations engaged in pro bono legal services or public defender services, and federal, state, or local judicial clerks.
This year’s LRAP recipients are ReAzalia Allen (’15), Catherine Ashy (’19), Brittney Esie (’20), Kiara Heath (’19), Fahreta Muminovic (’15), Vincent Nguyen (’20), Mallory Richard (’16), Aislyn Taylor (’17), Torrie Thibodeaux (’17), and Marcus Wilson (’20).
ReAzalia Allen (’15), Senior Staff Attorney, 19th Judicial District Court
“Receiving this award is a tremendous help for me. Working in public interest is sometimes a thankless job, however, the impact that I am able to make is invaluable and is one of the reasons that I have remained dedicated to public interest and public service. I will always remember my alma mater for the opportunities and experiences that it has provided me throughout law school and my career as an attorney.”
Catherine Ashy (’19), Judicial Law Clerk/Staff Attorney, 15th Judicial District Court
“Between navigating the technicalities of the loans; ensuring that I am always on a payment plan based on income; putting any and all extra money towards driving down my principal; and the realization that my regular monthly payments will likely barely cover the interest, the weight of my student loans can sometimes feel like too much to bear. I am beyond grateful for the grant provided to me by LSU Law Center’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program. I do not take this chance to make such a substantial lump sum payment lightly. I have never wavered in my desire to work in public service. I truly cannot see myself doing anything else. I am beyond committed to the goal of serving others that I had when I was sixteen, but I am so very appreciative for programs and initiatives like this that make this decision more manageable.”
Brittney Esie (’20), Judicial Law Clerk, 15th Judicial District Court
“As we all are aware, law school is quite expensive. Statistically, the expense of law school serves as a barrier for those who would otherwise choose this profession—especially for those who wish to practice public interest law. However, through the generosity of this foundation, the financial burden of law school is a little easier to carry. Thank you again to all who have made this award possible.”
Kiara Heath (’19), Judicial Law Clerk, Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals
“I have truly enjoyed my time working at the Third Circuit Court of Appeal and I feel honored that the work I do serves my community by ensuring the cases before me have been rendered fairly and properly under our laws. I am so thankful to the Kendall Vick Public Law Fund for making this grant possible. It is a privilege to work in public service, and I hope to continue to serve throughout my career. This grant will go a long way in making that hope a reality.”
Fahreta Muminovic (’15), Senior Staff Attorney, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans
“Immigration work is nothing short of challenging. Your validation of the struggles that come along with representing indigent immigrants in need of legal representation truly inspires me to continue working in this field. With your support, I can continue serving our clientele while meeting all my financial obligations.”
Vincent Nguyen (’20), Assistant District Attorney, East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office
“My time at the Law Center has given me the tools necessary to serve and support my community, but my education has come with a tremendous financial burden. Despite the burden, I believe it is essential to give back and make every effort to create a better world.”
Mallory Richard (’16), Assistant District Attorney, East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office
“I chose this path of public service not for financial gain, but to serve my community and to fulfill what I believe is my highest and best use. This award grants me more financial freedom to continue that commitment to public service. Because of your generosity, I, and other young lawyers like me, can remain devoted to a mission of supporting public interests while feeling less financially burdened. Thank you for championing careers in public service and for honoring me with this award.”
Aislyn Taylor (’17), Assistant Parish Attorney/Assistant City Prosecutor, East Baton Rouge Parish
“Your generosity and support will allow me to almost completely pay off a loan I incurred while preparing and studying for the Bar. Without this grant I would likely be repaying this loan for years to come. I can now focus my time and resources toward furthering my legal career. I hope to one day be able to pay this generosity forward to help someone in my position.”
Torrie Thibodeaux (’17), Judicial Law Clerk/Research Attorney, Third Circuit Court of Appeal
“This grant is greatly appreciated and will significantly impact my ability to pay off loans I made to pursue law school sooner than I thought possible. Research attorneys are integral to the function of our court system, which is why I pursued such a path. The legal field is not one size fits all and not all of us go the most conventional routes. I am proud to be an alumnus of a university that not only respects that but provides support to former students who have made such a decision.”
Marcus Wilson (’20), Judicial Law Clerk, Caddo Parish Courts
“Law school debt can be a stressor or impediment in navigating life after school. However, in being awarded the grant, my worries have been eased. Once again, thank you for your consideration of me in awarding the grant.”