3 Best Student Loan Lawyers in Virginia

#1 Student loan lawyer

Updated on March 2, 2024

It’s hard to find a lawyer in Virginia who knows how to help people with student loans. Some lawyers say they can help, but they’re mostly bankruptcy attorneys. This means they’re good at helping debtors file Chapter 7 bankruptcy to shed credit card debt, personal loans, and so on. But they often have little experience negotiating student loan settlements with lenders like Navient, National Collegiate Student Loan Trust, and Citizens Bank.

The truth is that there are few lawyers in Virginia or anywhere else in the country who know how to solve complex student loan problems. And of those few, even fewer stay up-to-date on the quick changes happening with student debt relief from the federal government.

Do you need help with your student loans? Book a call with me. In a few minutes, I’ll help you understand the different ways you can resolve your situation.

3 Best student debt lawyers in Virginia

There are a handful of attorneys I recommend based on my knowledge of their experience specific to student loan problems.

Full disclosure, I recommend myself first. Why? I’ve helped hundreds of borrowers negotiate settlements with private lenders and student loan companies, dig out of default, lower their monthly payments, and file adversary proceedings in bankruptcy to discharge student loans due to undue hardship.

  • Stanley Tate – I don’t have a law office in Virginia, but I help borrowers throughout the state with federal loans and some private student loan issues.

  • John Merna — offices in Richmond and Virginia Beach.

  • Jason Krumbein – office in Richmond. Jason also helps with other consumer protection issues like credit report errors and harrassment from debt collectors.

If you can’t score a free consultation with an attorney, try contacting the Legal Services of Northern Virginia. They have a student loan assistance program designed to help borrowers battling predatory lending practices and debt collection by lenders and schools.

Another option is to contact The Institute of Student Loan Advisors. TISLA isn’t a law firm, and it doesn’t have attorneys on staff. But the organization offers student loan borrowers free, neutral, and accurate resources and mentoring to ensure they can successfully manage their debt.

You can also contact the state bar association or a local law school to see if they offer free or low-cost legal assistance. The U.S. Department of Education also offers a lot of great information on StudentAid.gov.

Learn More:

What student loan lawyers do

A student loan lawyer evaluates your federal and private loans and then provides legal advice to help resolve the issue you’re facing. They can help you:

Qualify for forgiveness 

Since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the U.S. economy in March 2020, the Biden administration has eliminated over $34 billion in student loan debt by improving existing student loan forgiveness programs. For example, it erased the debt of thousands of full-time government, and nonprofit employees locked out of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program because they had the wrong type of loan.

The department also recently promised to give millions of borrowers credit towards income-driven repayment plan forgiveness, even if they were never enrolled in an IDR plan. Read more about how to apply for student loan forgiveness and the PSLF Program.

Get out of default

Federal student loan borrowers can use consolidation or loan rehabilitation to return their loans to good standing. The right choice for you depends on your financial goals, whether you have an active wage garnishment or are trying to buy a home and need to clear CAIVRS to get a federally-backed mortgage. Read more about what happens if you default on student loans.

Negotiate a settlement

It’s possible to settle federal and private student loans once you fall behind on payments and default. A lawyer experienced in working with student loan servicers and debt collectors can help you negotiate a lump-sum settlement that saves you thousands of dollars and avoid paying taxes on settled debt. Read more about how a lawyer can negotiate student loan debt.

Lower monthly payments

The Education Department offers several student loan repayment plans to help borrowers afford monthly payments. But the eligibility requirements for the plans can be confusing, especially if you’re married, retired, self-employed, or are worried about qualifying for loan forgiveness. Read more about income-driven repayment plans and the IDR account adjustment.

Defending a student loan lawsuit

Private student loan lenders regularly sue the borrower and cosigner in state court to recover the loan balance for defaulted student debt. An attorney can review the paperwork to see if the company has standing under Virginia law to sue you and whether it’s violated any consumer laws. Sometimes, the lawyer may be able to have the entire balance wiped out.

Besides those things, some student loan attorneys can even help you get rid of your loans in bankruptcy by proving undue hardship. Read more about bankruptcy and student loans.

Learn More: How to Get Rid of Student Loan Debt

Update on Biden’s broad debt cancellation plan

Nearly two months after President Biden announced his plans to provide targeted student debt cancellation to mostly low-income Americans, the program accepted applications from eligible borrowers. Over 26 million applied, and the Education Department approved relief for 16 million people. But forgiveness may be on hold for everyone.

The program set off a flurry of legal battles. The Biden administration swatted away many cases, but two survived:

  • A lawsuit filed by the Missouri Attorney General, Eric Schmitt, and joined by five states — Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Carolina — on behalf of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) and other state agencies.

  • A case in Texas filed by federal student loan borrowers who won’t get the plan’s maximum relief because they have the wrong loans and didn’t get Pell Grants while in undergrad.

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which covers the state of Missouri, put the plan on hold and granted a stay that blocked the Department of Education from moving forward with the proposed cancellation.

Meanwhile, the judge in Texas rejected the plan because the law the president cited as his authority — the Heroes Act of 2003, which lets the education secretary waive regulations related to student loans during times of war or national emergency — does not provide “clear congressional authorization” for broad debt cancellation via executive action.

Both cases are with the Supreme Court. The justices said it would hear arguments in February. Legal experts widely expect a decision will be entered by this summer. The president extended the payment and interest rate forbearance on Ed-owned student loans until late 2023.

Related: When Do Student Loan Payments Start Again?

Looking to hire an attorney to help with your student loans? Let’s talk

If you’re looking for help with your loans or managing your student loan payments, consider contacting one of the Virginia student loan attorneys above — or schedule a call with me.

UP NEXT: Student Loan Bankruptcy Lawyer: What You Need to Know

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