wow, thanks guys, especially to IzziesGal for the very informative posts.
I'm not really thrilled about working in the East Coast. I still would want to work in the West Coast, if I were to choose. But I'd like to attend a law school that has at least some recognition in the East Coast for just in case. I'm from Asia and I would be paying full fees. And, if I have to spend that much, I'd rather that my school has some recognition in both Coasts.
I already got into USC last year, but I deferred. I'll be applying to Berkeley, Stanford and UCLA. But if I get into all three I'd go for Berkeley. Been to a Cal campus tour and fell in love with the school right away. I cannot imagine studying somewhere else for law studies. my wife is from NJ, however, and there may be a chance that we would move there or in NY in the future.
Not trying to be a prestige whore, but if you care at all about working for a firm, and you get into all 3, picking any of them other than Stanford would be borderline insane. I don't think you realize the reputation gap between Stanford and Boalt outside of California. Actually, I don't think a lot of Cali people realize that. My friends from California seem to view Berkeley as only being slightly behind Stanford (I've heard that Cali firms feel this way as well) but for people in the rest of the country there's a big difference.
TCR. Stanford places a lot better into biglaw. Anecdotal, but during callbacks on the East Coast, I was interviewed by 2 Stanford grads. I didn't meet a single Boalt grad at any callback.