Thanks for the $.02 to both of you. I do have a lot invested in it, but overall, I do think I'd prefer teaching poli sci to being a lawyer, but what you wrote above, pass is a good way to look at it.
If I were at Seattle U., this would be an easy decision. I'm actually at Gonzaga but lived in Seattle before moving to Spokane, so while it may seem like a lot to uproot my family of 6, it's not especially since my dh's 4 siblings live over there an only his parents live here in Spokane. Also, Seattle U (afaict) does have a tuition waiver that applies to grad level, including law. I've entertained a job at Seattle U to finance my education as I did for undergrad, especially with the p/t program. The problem is that Seattle U places well in Seattle, but not over here, comparatively speaking. The COL between here & there is tremendous and wanting to do public interest law means I can't afford to live over there. As it is, a mortgage here means housing for $800/month and there would easily be 2x that for renting. i couldn't justify the app to Seattle U because moving would cost so much and tuition is roughly the same as it is here. And at this late date, it'd be hard to be competitive for scholarship $.
I would definitely not stop at a MA unless I felt too compelled to go back to the JD or just found it wasn't right for me and wanted something out of it! There just isn't a lot for MA profs out there for sure. So, I'd definitely go for the PhD. I spent some time yesterday researching the path to law school professorship and I know Gonzaga will definitely not get me there. I am most interested in the intersection of the legal world and how it shapes society and is in turn shaped by it and what that means for women and other disadvantaged groups and how the legal system can and has been used for positive change in those areas. University of Wisc-Madison has an emphasis on the social sciences and the law stuff which would be incredible. A JD & PhD would be handy, I think, but also a rather expensive investment.
Of course if I get in to Boalt (who am I kidding!) then I could do both there as well. That's another appeal of UWash--you can do a joint degree in anything you please--JD + whatever. I'm not entirely certain of my chances in the grad program at UWash though. I haven't taken a GRE to see how I compare with their stats.
Thanks again to both of you, pass & Sabot.