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In September, 2015, news broke that Volkswagen had been using illegal 'defeat devices' on its diesel cars in order to evade emissions tests. In a matter of days, the German car company was swamped by lawsuits. While the government's VW investigation continues to play out, the consumer class action was settled last October, when U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer approved a $10 billion package as part of a total $15 billion deal settling civil claims.

It was the largest class action settlement in history and the attorneys involved have walked away with a pretty penny themselves. Last Friday, Judge Breyer awarded $175 million in attorney's fees and costs to the plaintiffs' lawyers, Courthouse News Service reports.

Lately, we've been noticing a new trend in student-debt journalism, a turn towards articles touting how one enterprising post-grad paid off hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans in just a year or so. If they can do it, the logic goes, anyone can. That's a pleasing claim for law students with loans, most of whom graduate with over $140,000 in debt.

So, how do these quick loan repayers do it? Here's the secret: these loan payment strategies probably aren't going to work for you, or anyone else.

If you're a law school grad, but you can't find or don't want a job as a lawyer, there are plenty of alternatives: president, talk show host, Cuban revolutionary, or whiskey maker. Consider, too, the cybersecurity field. Cybersecurity, or "the cyber" as some have taken to calling it, is one of the fastest growing tech sectors, with the market predicted to be worth over $200 billion in a few years. The industry is adding millions of jobs and the unemployment rate for those with cybersecurity experience is zero, according to some reports. Zero. That's way better than the unemployment rate of law school grads.

And you don't have to be a computer sciences major to end up in cybersecurity. In a recent interview with Forbes, law school grad and former attorney Shelly Westman talked about her journey from law school to tech. Here's how she got from crim law to Senior VP of Alliances and Field Operations at the data security company Protegrity.

ABA Sues for Public Interest Lawyers' Loan Forgiveness

If Uncle Sam and Scrooge had a child ...

It's possible but hard to imagine the creature that would evolve from that union. Yet more than a few lawyers have conjured up the image in the form of the U.S. Department of Education, which has taken back the offer of loan forgiveness for their student debts.

The American Bar Association and four public interest attorneys have sued the Department of Education and the Secretary of Education for reneging on the promise of the Public Interest Loan Forgiveness Program. The government has approved about 400,000 borrowers for the program, but changed its decision for some, including the ABA and its lawyers.

Like most everyone else, you graduated law school with six figures of student debt. Like most everyone else, you didn't end up with a job where you could pay back those loans in a few short years. You might even be struggling to make your monthly payments right now. You may be on an income-based repayment plan and hoping for future loan forgiveness.

Now that Donald Trump has been elected, on a promise to shake up Washington (among other things), what does that mean for your law school loans?

After stagnating for some time, attorney salaries have started to climb in recent years. And that trend should continue in 2017, according to a report by Robert Half Legal. The staffing agency recently released its 2017 Salary Guide and reports that legal professional salaries are expected to rise by an average of 3.6 percent in the coming years.

But, while a rising tide lifts all boats, not every boat is lifted equally. What sort of bump you can expect depends a lot on your workplace, experience, location, and more. Here's how the year ahead might look for you.

Don't Let Debt Concerns Kill Your Dreams of Public Interest Law

With student debts climbing well into the six-figure range, there's a surprising amount of misinformation out there when it comes to financing a legal education. The general feeling is this: corporate BigLaw or bust. This mentality is probably responsible an increasing number of students dropping their ambitions of working in public office to pursue more "practical" law.

But there is hope for the lawyer with more compassion and largess. Consider some of the options below if you are still interested in public interest law. After all, the world needs people like you.

Robo-Lawyer Fighting Homelessness, Making Humans Obsolete

The wunderkind that created the once amusing, now frightening, chatbot-lawyer that has since overturned some 160,000 tickets from London to New York has struck again. This time, he has aimed his ambitions at tackling homelessness in Britain, according to a recent Washington Post piece about him.

This is terrific news for those who are in dire need of legal services because Josh Browder's efforts will no doubt bridge the gap between demand and supply for legal services. But it's terrible news for many lawyers who have traditionally benefitted from hard-set prices in legal services.

ASU Law's New College of Law Building Beckons the Public

Arizona State University's new Sanda Day O'Connor College of Law building is scheduled to be unveiled in just a few short days but if the pictures are any indication, it's going to be a cross between a law school and a community hangout.

The architects who designed the new glassy digs were going for something a little less ivy and brick and a little more modern and integrated. Tomas Rossant, one of the designers, proclaimed that the building is seen as a "mechanism to connect to the urban and social fabric of Phoenix."

America's Veterans Can't Afford Lawyers

It's a tragic reality that many of America's veterans return home only to find themselves homeless, unable to find their place in civilian society. However, if studies by the Department of Veterans Affairs are to be believed, many veterans' issues could be solved with the aid of a competent attorney.

We encourage all attorneys to offer reduced or even free assistance to veterans who are in need of help. If you are unable to help or cannot handle the complexity of the veteran's issue, we have provided a list of additional resources below.