Taylor’s Farewell

I spent two years practicing law at East River Legal Services (ERLS). I helped people all throughout eastern South Dakota. People of limited economic means, people who had suffered various forms of abuse, children in need of safe and stable homes…Vulnerable citizens in desperate need of help. I used my skills as an advocate and counselor at law to better their lives and provide them a better future. I worked alongside a hardworking and motley crew of do-gooders, who comprise the ERLS staff. I consider them superheroes, and so should the community. ERLS is a unique and special law practice and non-profit organization within South Dakota. Attorneys – young, mid-career, or late-career – should consider working at ERLS. It provides the immediate opportunity for hands-on client interaction and courtroom advocacy, while working alongside dedicated and supportive coworkers, in an organization that wants you to grow and succeed. Overall job satisfaction = high.  Come work at ERLS, where staff are truly able to make a difference!

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We are currently looking for Staff Attorney's in our Sioux Falls office.

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Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The American Bar Association estimates that new lawyers have an average debt of more than $100,000. Unfortunately, this debt load may discourage attorneys from accepting employment at a non-profit or government organization, which traditionally pays less than private practice.

Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) allows attorneys and paralegals working for a government organization, a tax-exempt organization, or other non-profit such as a civil legal aid program like East River Legal Services to seek loan forgiveness. PSLF requires that borrowers work for a qualifying agency while they make 120 payments on their federal student loans. After 120 qualifying payments, borrowers can apply to receive forgiveness of the remaining balance of their federal loans.

The PSLF program had several hitches at the beginning. Borrowers reported issues with loan servicing, confusion about what constituted a “qualifying payment,” and concerns that forgiven debt would have serious income tax liabilities. Thankfully, many of these issues have been corrected in recent years and PSLF applicants report greater success in receiving forgiveness. A temporary and expanded PSLF forgiveness review has given relief to thousands of borrowers. Borrowers eligible for PSLF are encouraged to apply for review of their loans under the current PSLF guidelines.  More information about student loan forgiveness can be found on the DOE website:  https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation

The purpose of PSLF is to encourage professionals with student loan debt to consider work that supports their communities. PSLF lessens the impact of student loan debt when making a career choice, which is meant to enrich the staff of public service employers and ensure that quality professional services are available for vulnerable members of our communities.

East River Legal Services (ERLS) is an LSC-funded civil legal services program in Eastern South Dakota. ERLS advocates represent low-income residents of Eastern South Dakota, focusing on representing and advising clients in domestic violence and housing. ERLS provides legal information, advice, and direct representation to clients who would otherwise be unable to afford legal counsel. ERLS encourages staff to participate in loan forgiveness.

ERLS is currently hiring for the position of staff attorney. If you are an attorney who would like to work for ERLS, we can assure you that we are a PSLF qualifying employer, and we will assist with an employer certification when requested. Additionally, if you are an out of state attorney wondering whether licensing would be a barrier to working in South Dakota, ERLS can assist you with the process to waive into the South Dakota Bar. SD Bar Waiver

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Our office is currently seeking to hire highly motivated attorneys interested in working with low-income individuals and provide them with equal access to Justice. We strive in our office to work as a team and fulfill the needs of our clients.

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