loan repayment and forgiveness program
Carrie Vance '05 is no stranger to being educated to be a woman for others. In fact, she studied it for nearly 10 years, with an undergraduate degree in religious studies from St. Olaf College and a Master's in theology from the Harvard Divinity School. It was only natural for Vance to attend BC Law School in pursuit of a career in public interest law.
“I hold a simply belief that all people should be respected,” said Vance. “I appreciated the way BC's Jesuit identity translates into an approach to law and justice that is grounded in moral convictions about the value of all human beings.”
She used her desire to protect that value by preparing for a career in legal services for the poor. Vance jumped at the opportunity to participate in BC’s Legal Assistance Bureau, as well as to enroll in classes like that looked at the intersection of the underprivileged and the law.
“I took seminars in Poverty and the Law as well as Gender and the Law to help me understand how the justice system impacts the lives of low-income women and to understand how lawyers could be effective advocates,” she said.
These classes only fueled Vance’s aspiration to fight for people who did not have an equal voice in society. Vance now works at Community Justice Incorporated, a non-profit law firm that represents low-income clients in family court and criminal defense. The local battered women’s shelter refer the majority of her clients. These women are in need of guidance and protection within the legal system for not only themselves, but also their children, something that Vance seeks to secure for them.
“I watch women make the transformation from being afraid and feeling powerless in their own homes to feeling vindicated and protected by a court system which upheld their dignity in the face of abuse, honoring their right to personal safety and self-determination,” said Vance. “I am a legal services lawyer because I think the law gives us a forum for insisting on the human dignity of people and the fair treatment of people who are, in other forums, devalued and discriminated against.”
But Vance’s drive isn’t the only thing that keeps her going. Vance said that LRAP has helped her sleep easier at night after a hard day’s work knowing that all her bills are paid.
“Those of us who are paying down debts on $30,000 salaries instead of $130,000 salaries are that much more worried about our financial stability,” she said. “The exploitation and disrespect of people who are in poverty is an injustice I want to fight against. LRAP has made it financially possible for me to pursue meaningful work.”