For Harvard you forgot "unparalleled name prestige among both lawyers and laypersons". Lawyers know Chicago is a great school, but not quite as great as Harvard. HLS also has massive lay prestige (as well as a loyal alumni network in several non-legal fields), making it one of the few truly valuable law degrees if you want to do something other than law. Outside of the law, graduate professionals, and Illinoians, most people think the "University of Chicago" sounds like some state school.
msmongolian wrote:Are the Harvard name and connections worth $75,000?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: What do you want to do? If you want to practice in Chicago, being there could help. If you want BigLaw generally or elsewhere, you may do better at HLS because of the additional prestige and alumni resources. You also have to consider your exit strategies, just in case you get BigLaw and it doesn't work out for you. HLS' strong alumni network in PI and government positions, as well as in non-law fields, would be valuable then.
Also consider the financials. If BigLaw works out then you've paid an extra $75K for that safety net, and at long-term BigLaw salaries, you can afford it. If BigLaw doesn't work out, or you decide you want to do something else, Harvard's LIPP will pay off your loans if you end up with a job in any
public-sector job, or any private legal-sector job
, that falls within the income threshold. You can start in BigLaw and move to a qualifying job and be LIPP-eligible then, and LIPP applies until your loans are fully paid. Oh, and it will also cover up to $30K in undergrad loans if you have them.
Looking at Chicago's LRAP program briefly, it looks like you're only eligible for it for the first seven years after graduation, it caps out at $10,000 per year, and it sounds like you may have to go directly into PI after you graduate/clerk to be eligible. That's far less of a safety net. Your maximum benefit is $70,000 (up to $10K a year for 7 years after you graduate/clerk) and even with UC being $75K cheaper, you're still going to have a six-figure debt with a ten-year (or longer) repayment plan.
So, in conclusion and considering various factors: Probably, yes.
(Full disclosure: I attend HLS, in case you think that matters.)