About the Career Options Assistance Program


Yale Law School has long encouraged its graduates to pursue public service activities. Rising educational debt burdens and stagnant public sector salaries, however, increasingly deter graduates from choosing public interest careers. Large debt and low salaries also discourage career options in academia and some types of private practice.

To give financial expression to the Law School’s commitment to a full range of career opportunities, Yale established the Career Options Assistance Program (COAP) in 1989 to provide substantial post-graduation assistance with educational loan repayment for graduates who choose lower paying positions.

Since its inception, more than 1,500 Yale Law School graduates have participated in COAP and received over $54 million in benefits. In 2017 alone, COAP disbursed $5.2 million in benefits to 429 graduates. COAP remains the most generous loan repayment program available to law school students and the example after which many other programs are modeled.

There is a role for lawyers to represent clients, to challenge authority, to hold it accountable and insist that it justify itself.”


Michael Wishnie

Class of 1993, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law