twentypercentmore wrote:A very big part of me feels like you shouldn't be doing either. NYU at sticker is something you should really only be doing if you are absolutely 100% certain you want to do public interest. 100% certain looks like, "I'd rather not go to law school at all if I can't do xyz public interest law." Not just making the world a "better place", but having a legitimate desire to influence or be a part of some specific greater legal movement as a whole.
On the other hand, Texas with 117k COA seems like a lot. Assuming that's everything included, that's going to end up being around 1,450k a month in payments, or 17k+ a year. There are plenty, plenty of legal jobs that are not worth the "privilege" of paying 17k a year to do. Unfortunately, UT only places about a third of its class in either biglaw or federal clerkships, From UT, there is a 58% chance of getting a job that is honestly not worth the luxury of 17k/yr payments (ranging from public interest, which was easier to get at NYU, to unemployment, which is significantly harder to get from NYU.)
I'd take the year off. Go work for a year, maybe retake the LSAT, and come back next cycle. You should probably be retaking a 169 regardless, honestly.
Side note: what kind of money did you get from Vandy and UMich?
I think people are underestimating just how low the cost of living is in Texas, especially Houston. I know people with that kind of debt that are doing just fine without biglaw jobs in Texas. The cost of living, including housing prices, are ridiculously low down here. People from all sorts of professions with advanced schooling have the same kind of debt, if not more, are doing just fine with mortgage payments without biglaw salaries. I am not saying that you will be living on easy street. But I am saying that 120K debt living in Texas without a biglaw salary is not as bad of a predicament as people here are suggesting.