I’m going to a TTTT in Illinios with a considerable scholarship. I had a good GPA in my undergrad (3.6) and a 159 on my LSAT.
I got my Fall grades back and I got a 3.5, top 9%. I would like to transfer to a higher ranked school but wonder if it would be worth giving up a scholarship for. I would have a lot more debt I realize.
I have heard many stories of people transferring law schools and many are happy with their choice, but some, from time to time, do regret it. When you transfer you will lose the connections and friends that you have made during your first year. You may also have to settle in a new city you are unfamiliar with. The great majority get no funding at all from the school. In fact, getting scholarship aid as a transfer student is very rare. That being said, you are right that you will lose your scholarship money and have to take on a great deal of debt.
Also, you do not mention any schools that you are interested in. Do you know of any schools that you would like to transfer to? With your high rank there is no reason why you could not move into the first tier. However, that is dependent on how well you do your second semester. However, for many that do well in the first semester, they do well in the second semester as well. Some, however, let the fear of falling in rank consume them.
The top 9% is really good. You may or may not be able to get into a top 14 school, but schools such as Boston University or UC Hastings, Fordham, and UCLA may be worth looking into. Again, I would like to know what your targets are. You could also try early decision for Georgetown.
You should be working on getting letters of recommendation now if you are planning early decision. If you plan on waiting, you can wait a couple months to get the letters, but do not do it last minute. Professors often would rather write you a letter when they are not grading finals. Also, they will be swamped with requests around finals time, as a lot of people try to transfer out of lower ranked schools.
Good luck to you, no matter what route you choose.