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KNOXVILLE — Students at the University of Tennessee College of Law will soon benefit from a loan repayment assistance program (LRAP) for law students or alumni pursuing legal careers in the public service sector.

The law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, made a major gift commitment to provide loan forgiveness each year for one or two UT College of Law students or alumni who are about to be employed or are already employed in an area of public interest law. Eligible employment positions include public defenders, district attorneys, legal aid organizations and other nonprofits.

“Baker Donelson and its attorneys have been extremely generous in creating this program,” said Douglas A. Blaze, dean of the College of Law. “This will be a significant step in opening doors for law students and alumni interested in working in the public service sector.”

The fund for the program was established through individual contributions from Baker Donelson attorneys that were then matched by the firm. The campaign resulted in a total of $208,000 to fund the LRAP.

“The strength of our legal system is rooted in equal access to justice for all our citizens, and when that access is denied to people of lesser financial means, the system is severely weakened,” said Ben Adams, chairman and CEO of Baker Donelson.

George T. “Buck” Lewis, a member of the UT Dean’s Circle and a shareholder with Baker Donelson, said the Baker Donelson Loan Repayment Assistance Program will help ensure equal opportunities in legal education.

“We felt it was important to encourage law students to pursue careers dedicated to ensuring that those of modest means have equal access to legal services,” Lewis said. “This LRAP is designed to significantly ease the financial burden for students and alumni who will become a crucial part of a balanced and equitable legal system.”

C O N T A C T :

Kristi Hintz, UT Media Relations, (865-974-3993,

Tanya Brown, College of Law Director of Communications, (865-974-6788,