Conversations I've had with alums and a current student have essentially touched on the fact that (obv) most UCLA grads self-select LA/SoCal, so while UCLA's overall network in NYC can't compare with Fordham's, their ability to place 25-50 students a year versus Fordham's 400-500 give them an edge up per student. They've stressed that to many firms and in several cases, rankings DO matter and sometimes strive for (school) diversity of their incoming associates. You know, more for the website.
I'm also not claiming I buy into this logic, but I'm trying to see both sides. I'll be inferring more during ASD this Sunday.
Having a really rough time with this decision...
What you say is valid. And let me be clear that UCLA is an awesome school. I'd be careful though. ITE, with less jobs available, networking has become more important than ever. UCLA places a tons of grads in SoCal, and UCLA alums know what to expect from graduating UCLA lawyers. So they're a lot more comfortable hiring their own.
The same phenomenon exists with Fordham. Many argue that Fordham grads self-select to NYC and that's why they don't have a strong presence elsewhere. While self-selection is highly likely, this lends itself to Fordham grads being in every corner of the NYC market. Since there are more Fordham alums in NYC than UCLA alums, there are likely more Fordham hiring partners than UCLA hiring partners. And when these Fordham hiring partners are hiring, who would they be more likely to pick? A top 25% UCLA student? Or a top 25% Fordham student? The converse exists in SoCal.
You can't make a poor decision here. But do realize that while UCLA has more portability than Fordham nationwide given its prestige, competing with Fordham grads in Fordham's home market will not be a walk in the park.
Going to ASDs is a great idea. Pick the better fit (both school and location) and make sure you'd be happy starting your career in that location. If I got into UCLA, I'd be seriously considering moving to LA myself and starting a new life there (I'd also be very, very torn with the idea of leaving NYC).