I'm an undergrad at UT, so I can't comment on the law school. Here's my overview of the city/campus, though.Cost of living
in Austin is pretty low. I rent a 1 bedroom apartment 3 miles north of campus (10 minute bus ride) for $500 a month.Campus
is 14 blocks from the famous 6th street, and most of the major law offices fall between 1st and 12th. Austin has branches of Akin Gump, Fulbright and Jaworski, and Vinson and Elkins. It's also the state capital, so there are a lot of opportunities for people interested in politics or public policy.City transportation
is very reliable, though you do have to ride with all the crazy hobos. Even though every city has these types, Austin's are weirder- the city's unofficial motto is "Keep Austin weird". Most of the buses run from 7am through 11pm.
As far as safety
goes, campus is pretty safe. I've walked around campus at 1 or 2 am and felt perfectly safe. You wouldn't want to leave your laptop sitting unlocked in the library while you went to the bathroom, though. There are areas of Austin you should avoid living in (Riverside, Oltorf, West Campus or anywhere east of 35 basically). No one is ever surprised to hear about "another murder" on Riverside.
You can't go wrong with Austin if you're looking for entertainment
. As some previous posters mentioned, Austin is the "live music capital of the world" and you can find almost any genre of music in a live performance on a weekend. Austin also has a unique location in that it's in the heart of the hill country, surrounded by lakes, and filled with parks. There are parks less than a mile from the heart of downtown that are really great for running, volleyball, picnics, taking dogs, etc. There's no shortage of coffee shops/bookstores/movie theaters (The student union finally got around to giving us a Starbucks!). You'll never starve in this city- there's tons of restaurants within a stone's throw of campus. Pluckers, anyone?
: It's hot. Really hot. Really humid. I grew up in Texas, so I've lived here for 2 decades, and it's still hot. You don't ever get used to it. It just sucks your desire and ability to complain about it away from you. Winters are great though. Most people BBQ over Thanksgiving/Christmas. We get about 2 weeks of real coats and scarves type weather, and any other time you can get away with a sweatshirt.
is expanding really quickly. In the north, the Domain was recently built (There was a NYTimes article about this). It's a multi-million dollar shopping area with everything from Apple to Dooney and Burke to Tiffany's. The city is really becoming a mixture of "hippy liberal potheads" and "conservative black tie affair industry barons". It really just makes the city more unique and interesting because there's something here for anyone.
And there's just something about being a Longhorn
that makes you happy to be here. I imagine that even law students take pride in watching Texas football and have fun tailgating behind the stadium.
Like Redacted said, you get to live in Texas without having to actually *live in Texas* (read: Austin is in the only county in the state that voted pro gay marriage. Also, our local transvestite hobo "Leslie" regularly gets 11% of the mayoral vote).
Not that I've said all this- I love Austin for college, but I couldn't imagine living here my whole life. It's my opinion that the city caters a little too much to the Longhorn crowd, which is great when you're still in school, but gets old over time.
Hope this helps!