HookemHooker wrote:You can keep your wimpy flag...
Yay, boobies! Four more PERFECTly good reasons why Texas is good enough. (in the interest of at least mentioning law school stats, I think Texas has good, firm placement and a perky outlook. Nipple.)
In all seriousness, go where you want to go; that is where you will do best. If it were me, I guess, given your stated goals and possible future plans, I would still say go Texas. If you work hard, you will get market pay in a major market. Dallas/Houston/Austin/Texas are way cheaper than the east coast, by and large... so keep that in mind. $160k in TX > $160k in NYC, DC, etc. So "biglaw" is a relative term, and salaries are subject to the market they are in. Regardless of where NALP draws that cutoff, these offers sound comparable, and the biggest difference between the two is pretty much where you would rather be. Both have pretty stellar placement numbers (I'll give UVA the edge, there). If you want to work in Texas and aren't a dumbshit/finish in the top 75% of your class, you will make six figures in Texas. In constant dollars, I would guess the difference between $95,000 in TX and $135,000 in a major market (NYC, DC, etc) is not that big. It may be something, but not everything.
That said, both are great schools, both are great offers. If you want Texas and maybe the Southwest in general (not sure), Texas is better. If you want east coast/Atlantic/NYC, UVA is better. If you want west coast, neither is the best option. The decision depends on where you want to live more than it does on $40,000, which is not a big enough difference to change the conversation. If you will work anywhere and just want a big salary, UVA is better, but Texas is still great. I think that would be a really dumb way to decide, but I haven't found a smarter way yet. TLS is filled with top students who are aiming for the moon, so they are going to encourage you to go to the highest attainable school... especially if it has been made so affordable. Neither choice here is wrong. You just need to pick one of two great schools and two great offers. This question seems to be more about geography than school, and that is a very personal decision (I second that Texas as a whole beats Virginia and the whole east coast to shit, but that's just my preference... also I do suspect that the energy boom will keep the bottom of the market from falling out of TX altogether... can't say the same about everywhere else... also, TX dominates TX, the second biggest state in the country... UVA dominates jack and shit, they're just a great school in an area full of great (better) schools...).
I think anything is a gamble, to some extent... but these two schools offer similarly strong prospects. Pick an area and go with it. I'm sure you will not be sorry.
p.s. maybe stipulations can provide some separation? Doubtful at this level, but worth a shot.