Desert Fox wrote:T14 still has much better job prospects than the rest of the T1. Personally I'd rather risk 200K for a 50-50 shot at big law, than risk 45k (cost of living) for only a 10% shot at it. And if you can't hit median at a T14, you aren't hitting top 10% at a T1.
I'm not saying you are necessarily wrong, but why are you so sure that top 10% at a T1 is necessarily more difficult to achieve than top 50% at a T14? Is there any hard evidence that supports your assertion? From what I can tell, based on available information, there is no way to tell which is more difficult. Wouldn't you be risking 155k more, marginally to the lower ranked school, on a hunch? Also, at some point in our careers and not too long after graduation, we are going to be judged primarily on our ability as lawyers and not the names on our resumes anyway, though those school names will still likely mean something. While that seems to discount the rank of the school, perhaps the legal education a student would receive at a T14 will be significantly superior to that received at a lower ranked school. Again, no real way to tell.
I wish I could take a set of median exams from schools ranked 10-26 and have UF/FSU/Miami professors grade them and see where they would rank relative to UF/FSU/Miami exams. I would also want to take median and top 10% exams from lower ranked schools and see where they would stack up at higher ranked schools. An important limitation is that professors may have particular ways they like exams written that students at different schools would not be responding to.
Hypothetically, if median exams at Gtown would rank top 10% had they been at FSU, median exams at FSU would rank bottom 10% had they been at Gtown, and top 10% FSU exams would rank median had they been at Gtown, then you would maximize your opportunities by attending FSU. If median exams at Gtown rank top 45% at FSU, and median exams at FSU rank at or just under median at Gtown, then Gtown would be the better choice.