I am currently a 1L on scholarship at a T3 law school in the Midwest with a very good local reputation but not much a of a national one. We moved to this area for my husband's residency. He has accepted fellowship here, and we will both finish our programs in 2009. Whether we stay here is up in the air, but it's likely we wouldn't settle here permanently since we have no family or close friends in the area. It is likely that we'd move back to the East Coast, possibly Boston.
I am trying to decide if I should attempt a transfer to the very good T1 school in my area (not sure of the rank but it's top ten I believe). So far I have three of four grades back and they are all As, including the highest score in my section in Civ Pro. I'm sort of shocked that I did so well, and now I am considering a transfer, even though I talked myself out of applying to the T1 school originally because a)my LSAT was a little low for them and b)it's an hour from my house and I have a young child and don't want to spend so much time commuting. It seems that I might have a good shot at getting a transfer spot, assuming I do as well next semester.
My real question after my very long-winded introduction to the situation, is how much of a difference the school really makes in the long run. I have no aspirations to practice in a big firm, I'm more inclined toward public interest or government since I already have one child and would like another in the future. The T1 school has a national reputation but is also three times the cost and a lot further away. At my current school, I will likely grade onto Law Review and will have the scholarship to defray a lot of the costs. I am just looking for some input on whether I am cutting off some options by staying at my current school and any advice you might have for me. Thanks in advance.