If I end up at a school that has a Big Law employment rate of ~50% (i.e. NYU, Penn) and am able to lock down a big-law job (have several friends who have done so and I don't feel any less competent/hardworking than they are), , wouldn't it be a good financial move?
Several flaws and assumptions here. First, there is still a 50% chance you will not land biglaw and be stuck with $200K in non-dischargeable debt. I doubt your 3.5 is going to land you much, if any, $$ in the top of the T14.
Furthermore, everyone you go to school with will be smart, competent, and hardworking. You will be basically the same as everyone else.
Finally, you are a 22 y/o kid who has been out of undergrad less than a year who hates his job. Join the club, entry level jobs suck, you need to put your time in.
Finally, YOU DON'T WANT TO BE A LAWYER! This is the biggest issue I see with you going to law school. I went to law school after much thought and deliberation and research into what lawyers actually do and I decided it would be a good career path for me. You only seem interested in the potential money, this is a terrible reason to go to law school. Why not stick it out at your job for at least a year or two? See if it gets better or if there are other opportunities that may arise that will not cost the same as a small mortgage. If you are not sure you want to be a lawyer, or at least have a pretty good idea of what it entails you should not go.
1) My plan is that, if I don't get into at least MVP or above, I will not go to law school. I have no intentions of jumping to a T2 frying pan and hoping for the best. My goal right now is to retake and get a few points higher on the LSAT, get ~30K in schollies from one of MVP, preferably Penn, and then use personal savings and family help to try and finance Law School in such a way that I end up taking out ~100-120K loans over 3 years. I think that amount is very manageable with a Big Law salary.
2) Yes I agree that it would absolutely suck to be stuck with 100K debt because you were in the 50% who couldn't get Big Law But still, every single undergraduate Business Major pretty much is making that same bet with even worse odds when they chance IBanking or Management Consulting. I think 50% for a shot of significant compensation, with a fall back of above average compensation, while holding onto 100K is not a horrible, horrible financial move. Of course, please feel free to disagree here (and I would appreciate your insight).
3) Yes, I would be like everyone else, so I wouldn't be at any more or less of a disadvantage. However, isn't a solid approximation of how I would do be how I compare to others who have been there? I think I stack up okay against people I know who have been at the top of their class at T-14s in terms of ability and dedication.
4) Yes, everyone hates their job. But I would be remiss if I didn't try and see if there are any other opportunities out there. I don't want to sound ungrateful for the opportunity I have, but I would be lying if I said I didn't want more.
5) I'm not planning on quitting and applying right away. I will definitely stay at my job for at least another year (if for nothing except to keep my signing bonus haha), and then see where I am again. However, I think financial motivation is central to so many decisions that you can't discount somebody's decision to become a lawyer simply because he doesn't care for the practice of law. TBH I am one of the unlucky few (or many?) who doesn't have any real direction in terms of what I want to do career-wise. I would love to play professional sports or become a famous writer, but I haven't got the talent for either. To that end, I think the best choice is to really chase the best compensation to lifestyle trade-off ratio.