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Last month, three criminal defense lawyers and a paralegal were in need of one of their own after they were indicted for allegedly bribing court staff to pass along wealthy clients. Lawyers Dwane Smith, 56; Benjamin Yu, 36; and Jae Lee, 41; along with paralegal Jose Nunez, 47, were charged after the court staffer became a cooperating witness, reports the New York Daily News.

That probe expanded this week, when investigators' eyes turned to Yu's former mentor, 70-year-old attorney Paul Liber. Though Liber and his lawyer both point out that he has not been charged, his name came up repeatedly during the investigation, reports the New York Post.

Raise your hand if, at some point, you got slapped with a student loan bill for more than $1,000 per month.

If you haven't yet, and took out loans for law school, it's only a matter of time before some idiot loan servicer sends you a bill requesting more than half of your take-home pay. And for many people, their response will be to utter a few choice profanities and then to ignore the letter.

Don't. Default is bad, at least if you ever want to have a respectable credit score, own a home, or get out of debt. Instead, take a look at the available income-driven repayment plans. If you're working in public interest, your debt will disappear in 10 to 15 years. If not, you're looking at reduced payments until right around the time your child goes to college. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Last week, we talked about consolidating your loans to make them more manageable. Today, we'll look at reducing your monthly payments on your federal loans:

Few would argue that Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements are important for judges and attorneys alike. And even if they're not, if those of us who are members of the bar (but not on the bench) have to do them, well, everyone should suffer the misery.

Except, not all CLEs are miserable. Conferences can be fun. Really, really fun if the descriptions of these extravagant CLE trips that New Orleans judges frequent are any indication: a Panama City (Panama, not Florida) resort, trips to the Big Apple, a Montana resort, and more.

Of course, they need their CLEs. So are they taking this little employee perk a little too far?

What's the biggest problem facing graduates today? It's not the job market, which really, really sucks. It's the massive load of debt which will stalk them for the next few decades, making it difficult to buy a home, go on vacation, or even save for their own kids' college funds. Standard monthly repayments, for someone with six-figure debt, probably top $1,000 per month. If you're not in BigLaw, that's a massive expenditure.

Fortunately, there are options -- so many, in fact, that it's hard to know exactly what to do with your loans. That's why we're going to spend the next few weeks sharing what we've learned (the hard way) about managing student loans, starting with loan consolidation.

New Year's Resolution #1: start paying attention to my ever-expanding student loan debt.

Now, you may think that NYRs are an idiotic concept. Fair enough. My roommate ranted for forty-five minutes on the subject just last week.

That's fine. Call it a resolution, call it a goal, call it good old fashioned budgeting and finance. Either way, the moment you have a job, your focus should turn to your debt. Here are ten ways to assess the debt, free up cash, and finish paying off your debt long before 2075.

Last year, we explored the brilliant, yet work-in-progress student loan management tool, Tuition.io. (Tuition I owe - get it?)

We saw it as a useful tool, though we had some reservations about handing over our sensitive data (SSN, specifically). I went ahead and gave it a shot, because, well, if someone steals my identity, they become the proud owner of six-figure debt and $0.38 in a bank account. I'll adopt a pseudonym, become a bartender, and move to Dublin. Win-win, right?

Needless to say, I'm still here, and still blogging, which means their site stayed secure. Plus, for federal loans, they have ways to avoid handing over your sensitive information. They've also fixed a few other bugs and typos. At this point, if you are juggling multiple loans from multiple companies, your first stop should be Tuition.io.

Like many young people, I've been too busy to pay attention to Obamacare. Democrats passed a healthcare law, the Supreme Court upheld the insurance mandate as a tax, and since then, congressional Republicans have threatened to hold their breath and stomp their feet until they turn blue and pass out. Or until the law is defunded.

None of that means a thing to me. Until recently, I lacked a job with benefits, and the only concern I had was this: how does this affect my insurance premiums? The answer, unfortunately, is that for most of us recent graduates, it'll spike our premiums. A new push by Generation Opportunity (GOp ... like GOP with a little less facial Republicanism, but still funded by the Koch brothers) is encouraging our nation's youth to "opt-out" of Obamacare by paying the minor penalty, and abstaining from overpriced healthcare.

Renting is hideous, especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Back in the projects of Lexington, Virginia (true story), we were able to find two bedroom apartments for only $450 per month. Here? We're talking $1,100 for a crappy "junior one bedroom" apartment.

That's $13,100 per year. That's might-as-well-have-a-mortgage territory.

Except, there is this minor factor of student loan debt. Now, everyone's finances are different. Some of us have $1,000 per month student loan payments. Others are using IBR to delay the inevitable. Either way, student loan presents two major obstacles to home ownership: debt to income ratios and down payments.

Last week, in the midst of the student loan interest crisis, we looked at different options for dealing with paying back student loans. Though Congress has a fix -- for now -- the burden of student loan repayment looms large over many graduates' heads. Still desperate and considering bankruptcy? Hate to say we told you so, but that's not going to happen.

In two recent cases, two different courts ruled that students could not discharge their student debts through bankruptcy. Why? It's a very high standard to overcome.

For many of us, law school would not have been possible without student loans. Yet, CNN reported on Wednesday, that the Senate failed to reverse a measure that doubled the interest rates of millions of student loans to 6.8%. What's more, The Washington Post notes that if this issue isn't resolved before the August recess, many students will lock in these high rates once the school year starts.

Here's a breakdown of your options and how to take advantage of them ...