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WASHINGTON, D.C. April 12, 2012 — Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) will receive the American Bar Association’s Congressional Justice Award on April 17 for his support of student loan forgiveness programs and his lifetime dedication to ABA-related issues including veterans assistance programs.
Reed supported funding for the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program, which offers student loan assistance to lawyers who agree to serve their communities for at least three years by working as public defenders or prosecutors. While these roles are fundamental to our system of justice, educational debt prevents many qualified lawyers from pursuing careers in public interest law. Recruiting and retention issues lead to overwhelming workloads that can slow the administration of justice and have real consequence for victims of crimes and defendants. Thanks in part to Reed, Rhode Island received $52,543 for fiscal year 2012 to distribute to eligible attorneys “who have the least ability to pay their loans.”
“Senator Reed’s dedication to our system of justice is a paradigm for members of Congress. We are pleased to recognize his unwavering support for the rule of law,” said ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III.
In addition to championing ABA priority issues including the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act — also known as the DREAM Act, and the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, Reed helped pass the largest veterans’ budget in history that included significant investments to treat traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The ABA has a longstanding commitment to assist with the legal needs of servicemembers, which include securing medical care, disability benefits, reemployment, consumer needs, housing, criminal justice issues and family law matters. The association has created a host of programs, projects, initiatives and services to aid veterans. The ABA Military Pro Bono Project and ABA Home Front provide legal resources for military families. The ABA Young Lawyers Division has launched Project Salute: Young Lawyers Serving Veterans, a year-long mission to inform veterans about their rights and assist them with obtaining benefits via legal clinics throughout the nation.
Reed will receive one of the six ABA Congressional Justice Awards that will be given as part of the ABA’s annual effort to connect policymakers with constituents in the legal profession. ABA Day 2012 brings distinguished lawyers from 50 states to Washington, D.C., to discuss issues such as funding for LSC, the Violence Against Women Act, and the collection of overdue state court-ordered fees.
Other recipients of the 2012 ABA Congressional Justice Award include Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7th), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-K-5th).
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