Did I miss the NYC drinks (looks to me from the fb page like it didn't end up happening)?
Also, and stop me if this is not the appropriate forum to discuss this, but it seems if I choose HLS I will be funding 100% of my law school expenses with loans. I'm completely financially independent and my parents will not be making a significant contribution, if any, to my tuition/living expenses, but they make just enough that I don't seem to qualify for aid. In your opinion, is it still worth it to go to HLS and graduate with $275k+ debt (LST http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=harvard
) rather than going to another t14 with a nice scholarship (not anything crazy like full ride but maybe 25%-50% covered)?
NYC Drinks: I think the plan fizzled, but I'd be up for getting a group together in January. It seems like we'd have a good crowd.
IMO, I think this is an appropriate forum to discuss HLS at sticker vs. T14 at discount.
Also, one thing you probably already looked at, but just in case: since you're already financially independent, are you going to be older than 26 at any point before September 1, 2016? Harvard (unlike most schools) recalculates your need-based aide every academic year. As you get older (starting at age 26) your parents' expected contribution shrinks by 25% each year, which seems like it could have a large impact in your case. And if you're over 29 years old before Sept. 1 of an academic year, their financial information isn't included at all in the need based calculation.
The sticker / discount choice seems (for me) to play on so many factors:
What school did the discount come from? Not all T14 are created equal.
Where do you want to work after graduation and for your career?
What will you regret more: maybe missing an opportunity to catch that brass ring or choosing to live with a ten year mega-mortgage?
I've been lucky enough to have this conversation with a few graduates of HLS and other T14 schools who are not affiliated in any way with the admissions office and range from a year out to ten years out. The consensus from them, before considerations of financial aid vs. scholarships was: if you get into Harvard/Yale/Stanford go there. Why? Because, if you want to be a lawyer (and it is surprising how many people go to law school and don't want to be lawyers), Harvard/Yale/Stanford guarantee the best opportunities, open the most doors, and offer the highest financial safety net (in terms of LIPP).
Direct quote from an e-mail correspondence I had with a recent HLS grad:
Overall, my career looks pretty open-ended at the moment, and I have an offer to go back to a large firm if I so choose after my clerkship. A nice thing about HLS is that the name recognition means I don't have to plan so far ahead to see what I'll do next... if you go to Harvard you should not have a hard time getting a Big Law job. Basically everyone gets one, and the only way to not would be to do absolutely terribly in all of your classes, two semesters in a row.
LST isn't able to bake that kind of career comfort into its statistics. Really, LST doesn't work well at separating the value of the top schools because it only (vaguely) shows where people did go, not where they could have gone. We're entering a prestige industry, where our law school's name will follow us for life. In such a place, school prestige has real value and will affect our career options and potential earnings, and it can make the law school financial decisions that much more difficult.
edit: I included "very" before "appropriate" and it felt gross upon rereading. Had to change.