Anonymous User wrote:This is the OP. Thanks for all the advice. Brutal, but candid. I plan to call career services tomorrow to get the scoop on how URMs with my first semester grades fared in the short as well as long-term, and then really buckle down and make a decision. If it's true that BigLaw and realistically-paying PI (above 35K starting off) are 95% out of my reach now, and I really don't want to go solo (since don't you need some prior firm experience to be taken seriously as a solo, and going solo is essentially setting up your own business?) with massive amounts of non-dischargeable debt, then I really see no point in continuing. Frankly, I've had worse things happen to me than this, and it's a bummer, but I have to be cold-eyed and realistic about my options. I'm no longer a dew-eyed 22 year old lost in an idealistic fog (there are so many at my school, it's quite endearing hearing them talk at times), and this is an investment more than anything else, so I have to see it as dispassionately as possible. I only owe it to myself, since I don't want to be stuck with +100K more in non-dischargeable debt and career prospects marginally better than what I can have now if I just bail. (Granted it's a recession, but recruiters I know from years past have gotten to emailing me every week or so over the past two months with a new job opportunity in the 45-60K range, so the employment situation can't be all that bad in my niche right now. And I have great references from previous jobs, so there is a back-up plan of sorts, I suppose.)
I do fear, though, that I'm being a bit alarmist. I have a nasty habit of catastrophizing. With the half-scholly, I can throw the dice again and see where I land second semester (though I stand to lose another ~19K in the process). And I know that I can throw myself and work 12-16 hour days to see that I can get some good scores the second time around. What to do? What to do? This is killing me.
Besides big law, what kinds of law interest you? Immigration? Family? There are other options out there, even if they don't have stellar pay. Non-prestigious PI also does not care as much about grades, and if there are PI things which interest you, it may be worth staying. I wouldn't give up yet unless you had your heart set on big law.