armc808 wrote:Harvard. The full ride at Berkeley is a tempting choice, but with a $40k grant from HLS, it doesn't get much better than that in terms of aid (as far as I'm aware, correct me if I'm wrong),
I'm kind of surprised that so many are focused on the fact that OP might get HLS's most generous need-based aid package. I don't see why that matters. At the end of the day, OP is going to have an additional $100K of debt if he or she attends HLS instead of Berkeley, for a total debt of $175K. That's a good chunk of debt.
I'm not saying HLS is the wrong choice here. I'd be tempted to make that choice if I were OP. But as someone who has worked as a lawyer for several years, I'll say this: big law is full of HYS grads who say "I wish I had taken a full ride at CLS/NYU/Chicago/Penn/Berkeley/UVA/Duke/Northwestern instead of going to Harvard/Yale/Stanford." Ironically, their lives are worse for having opted for prestige. Many of those who passed up HYS for a lower-ranked school can buy nicer things (including homes) because they have so much less debt.
Now, you're not going to pay sticker at HLS, so the debt-contrast isn't as stark. But $100K is a lot of extra debt for someone who just wants big law in SoCal, and whose other option is a school that places very well in California.