I don't think I would have to "learn to love" a lower paying field of law - like I said in OP, I'm not BigLaw or bust. However, I will have to evaluate what life would be like pulling in 40-50k with 180k debt. People obviously do it, but I really don't know much about how difficult it is to do and what their lifestyles are like.
Here's a good website to check out:http://temporaryattorney.blogspot.com/2 ... -poor.html
The site above hasn't been updated in awhile, but it gives a good picture of what life is like as a temporary doc review "coder," which is where most OCI strikeout victims end up.
Also check some of my old TLS posts to get an idea of what NYC personal injury shitlaw practice is like.
Honestly, if you get dinged by all the OCI shops, you might want to consider just dropping out. You could then save 3 semesters of additional tuition and at least stop tossing good money after bad. It sucks to have such a large "sunk cost," but the chances of ever making north of 65-75 K outside Biglaw are slim to none, and Slim just shit his pants now that the DOW is under 11 K and the economy is pulling a 2008 all over again.
Here's a typical temp gig ad from yesterday's NYC craigslist:
Trouble for you guys is that even shitty doc review temp jobs now mostly want at least a year of e-discovery experience. So even 12-36 months after bar admission you're only making $30 an hour with no stability or health benefits, and these gigs are usually only a few weeks here and there.