The relative prestige of the school in Asia is meaningless if you're trying to land a position with a US/UK BigLaw firm. The firms all know the hierarchy and NYU is seen as a better school than Cornell, Penn may be able to hold its own a little better but I would imagine NYU has more students working abroad than Penn (just given its size if nothing else) so I would still give it the edge.
People here are giving you a hard time because your goals and priorities don't seem to align.
Fair enough, but I can have more than one goal though. From what I've read, provided one does well at any of T-14 schools, one have a good shot at big law. The median salaries are roughly the same also: 160K (some 145Ks here and there, but that's definitely livable, even in New York). So then I start looking at other considerations.
I'm not the only person I'm trying to please here. My parents have made enormous sacrficies and worked very hard to get to where we are, I'd be a bad son if I didn't consider their feelings as well. Although they don't openly say it, getting into an Ivy league school would make it all seem worth it.
Prestige is important. 40% of USNWR's rankings are some form of prestige, i.e. how someone views that school. That's an aggregate of lawyers, judges etc. Fine, that's important for the legal world. But in my world, my, my parents and my friends/colleagues prestige rankings matter also, in a different way.
We could use Leiter's more objective/quantitative rankings, but I think it's splitting hairs at the top. I would say that the academic culture and what one makes of the environment is much more important in accessing where is good for a legal education.
Here's my reasoning for my schools:
Harvard: enough said
Columbia: strong corporate/intl'/chinese law programs, PKU exchange, in NYC - I'd find exactly what I'd want academically/professionally here
Chicago: fiercely intellectual academic culture, economics - I'd fit in here intellectually
Michigan: most gung-ho about Chinese law in T-14, wants to attract Mandarin speaking JDs - I'd find many future lawyers/professors who are interested in Chinese law here
Penn: Ivy, Wharton classes, corporate law, Tsinghua exchange with an option to doing an LLM in 6 months afterwards - I'd meet many future business leaders at an Ivy school here, with an option to get a LLM at Tsinghua in 6 months after
Cornell: Ivy, humanist focus: "lawyers in the best sense", really wants/tries to be international - I see potential: Clarke Initiative, exchange, joint-degree and summer programs with Chinese schools, surprisingly good corporate placement - I'd meet some great people here, and surprisingly many opportunities to study in China
I appreciate the maturity and honesty btw.