I'm here! Either school is a great choice. You're lucky to have this dilemma. IMHO W&L is the better choice because of reputation and location.
I agree that W&L is a better choice wholeheartedly. 50 k is NOT that big of a deal in the longrun. Its just a student loan payment. I don't really understand why people seem to think its a big deal. I've seen more people on this board think that if you can't go to lawschool for free, its not worth going. Medical school is insanely expensive, but you never hear people saying they shouldn't attend because of debt.
Also, the fact that there are no FSU interns at the Federal Court you're working at doesn't really matter. Even though a federal internship is nice, its not a paying summer job. Most FSU kids don't do internships after their 1L year. They either study abroad or clerk at a local firm, or work as an SA somewhere. FSU has access to federal, state trial, state appellate, and State Supreme Courts DURING the school year as a part of their externship program. SO there's not really a need to go down to Tampa and intern during the summer. And if they wanted to intern during the summer at a Federal court, or any state court, they could simply choose to stay in Tallahassee.
Do you know from experience that 50K isn't a big deal, or are you just assuming?
I just graduated from FSU Law with around a 100k in debt. I'm not sweating it at all. Think about it as an investment. In fact, lets use the purchase of a house as an example. Lets say you have two basically identical houses in terms of size, and overall quality. Generally, if the difference between the price of a house is 50K, but one house is in a much nicer neighborhood and its closer to your work, do you really think that much about it? If its not in a much nicer neighborhood, then yeah, you probably wouldn't buy the more expensive house, but if it is a much nicer neighborhood, then you would.
At the end of the day, a law degree is a much bigger investment than a house. So why would you think twice about it?
Look, as I said, I just graduated from FSU law. I loved the school, I loved the experience, and it helped me land a very sweet job. But....it's not W&L in terms of placement. I got a great job with great pay from FSU...but I had to finish pretty high in the class to do so, and I had some other extra curriculars (Journal, Publication, Dean's list most of my semesters, multiple Book Awards, State Appellate Court Externship, SA with a national firm), and some interesting experiences before lawschool that probably helped me out (Marine Corps). However, I feel that you would probably be able to finish not as high at W&L to get the same type of job that I got. FSU is a wonderful school, and I got an excellent education, but I honestly can't say that I would have picked it over W&L if I was given the option.
If you are absolutely sure that you want to stay in Florida or Georgia after graduation and you're absolutely sure that you don't want to work for "Biglaw", then by all means, go to FSU. You will graduate with far less debt and get basically the same education. (not to mention you get to go to Football games, and kick-a$$ socials) But....if you have absolutely any inclination to work somewhere else and you want to have an easier time working for Biglaw, then you should go to W&L.
Look at it like this: Which school would give me the most opportunities if I was a middle of the pack law student? (which most people are.... the curve is the great equalizer)I believe W&L would give you the better opportunity. Like I said, all of those goals accomplished at FSU, but you have to work a lot harder to do so than you would at W&L.
But at the end of the day, its all a personal choice. If you feel more comfortable at FSU, then go there. Its not really a difference in education, its just a difference in the ease of opportunities.
Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions about FSU. It is a great school after all.