My options are
Cornell Law School- I have 5k in debt from undergrad. I will be getting a external scholly for 30k a year. But other then that it'll be loan time. I don't have much interest in BigLaw especially long term as I would love to do criminal law or actually help people. But I also don't want to be scrapping by all my life with 120k+ debt following me. Quite frankly I now I will be probably be near the bottom of the class so BigLaw might not be an option either.
My other option is a 34k job with good benefits(federal) and potential to make 65k after 8-10 years.
Other factors are that I currently live with parents and would like to get out and be independent asap(psycho mommy). I don't like the prospect of 100k+ debt staring me down as major debt scares me. Nevertheless it is hard to say no to an ivy league JD.
An advice, tips, insights would be appreciated, thanks!
I think you really have to ask yourself are you excited about this job offer you have on the table? I was in a similar situation before I started law school. I was working for a psychologist while I was in college just to get by and he was a good guy and wanted to help me get a Psychiatry degree and eventually take over his practice. The money would have been pretty good, but I had no interest in being a Psychiatrist it was not a passion of mine or something I wanted to do long term. I wanted to be a lawyer, but it was hard to turn down a job offer with guaranteed money, but pursuing the law degree was the right path.
However, I did not have a family, wife, etc to worry about when going to law school and I don't know your circumstances. If your 30 with a family to support then taking the job might be necessary, but if your a recent college grad with no responsibilities and you want to be a lawyer pursue that path there will be plenty of other job offers for 34K on the table for a college graduate.
Also if your really excited about the job you have been offered it is something to consider. However, it is just some job in a cube looking at data there is no need to settle. LAW SCHOOL SELECTION AND CAREER
As the other posters mentioned if you have been accepted into Cornell and have no interest in Biglaw attend law school at CUNY, Hofstra, or something NY school with a full scholarship. If you have the GPA/LSAT for Cornell you can obtain full scholarships at number of ABA schools.
If you want to help people as a Public Defender, City Attorney, District Attorney, a landlord defense collaborative, whatever it may be there are plenty of opportunities in these positions and they will pay more than 34k and offer a lot more grown than 65k. Even with $100,000+ debt a legal education pays for itself if you stick with it, and if you can get out of law school debt free you can have a lot more opportunities. Conclusion:
From my initial impression as an anonymous poster reviewing your post knowing absolutely nothing about you or your situation. I have the impression your a recent college graduate and this is the first job offer you received, but if your have the intellect to be accepted into Cornell I don't think you should settle for a 34k a year job that will eventually pay 65k unless it is something your really passionate about.
I know if your graduating form 34k and 65k sound like a lot of money, but it isn't much and there will be plenty of job offers that guarantee a lot more than that particularly after 7 years of service. I also get the impression you want to attend law school, which is why you took the LSAT etc. You can attend Cornell and have a lot of options, but debt will be a factor or you can attend a number of law schools with a full scholarship and have numerous options without educational debt.
If I were you, which I am not I would attend a school in a City I want to live in with a full scholarship and pursue a legal career if being a lawyer is something you really want.
Good luck whatever you decide.