Waddling Thunder admits that he is a status obsessed lunatic. So am I, or I wouldn't be at HLS. The choice between here and UChicago was the most difficult one of my life. I objectively knew that the latter was filled with more interesting people, professors, and classes, that I would be happier there (with the possible exception of the depressive potential of the neighborhood and ubiquitous looming gargoyles), and that it was more affordable. If I turned down HLS, though, it was certain that at any point in my career when I didn't get something, I would be haunted by the suspicion that a Harvard degree might have tipped me over the edge. This awareness of my own capacity for years of self torture, coupled with a generous family member, made me choose HLS. Also, my undergrad is relatively little known and attending Harvard would avert any future need for explaining that yes, both my B.A. and J.D. were obtained from rigorous and well respected schools, even if you've never heard of them.
Often the choice to go to the high status school seems like the wrong one, but time will tell if the future benefits will be worth the grinding unpleasantness that makes up far too much of this experience.
I didn't even apply to Yale until right before the deadline, once I had been surprised by my admittance to all the schools to which I'd applied in October. It was sort of a lark, since I knew that if I wanted a academic law school experience I would choose UChicago and if I went for prestige Harvard would win out. Maybe they could tell I wasn't particularly enthusiastic, since I didn't get in. While the no grades system is appealing, three years in New Haven with Yalies sounds unbearable.