« on: February 18, 2012, 11:11:16 PM »
I sympathize with the decision and situation. I know it's a big decision. However, you haven't applied yet right? So why not cross that bridge when you come to it. Apply and see what happens (it will only be a few hundred dollars). You may or may not get in (though I suspect you will being ranked so highly). If you don't, your choice is simple, right? If you do, then weight the pros and cons. I was like you. Though I didn't have a job, I took fewer credits at my first school. Turns out studying for 5 finals isn't exactly that difficult. You're not alone because all other classmates have the same workload. If you had a successful work ethic at your first school, it will likely translate to a successful work ethic at the next school. I feel that half the battle is work ethic. I went from tier 4 to tier 2 and did just as well. Honestly though, I would bet you would be better than middle of the class at any other school. I know being ranked highly in a class is of great value to employers, but big firms seem to like to see big name law schools rather than high ranks at lower ranked law schools. It depends a lot on what you want to do after graduation.
That being said, happiness is a very high price to pay for a mere chance at switching schools. If you are truly happy where you are, why fix what's not broken? Two years may not seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things, but two years being miserable seems much longer.
Just my 2 cents.
*Edit* One of the schools you mentioned is Berkeley, but you also mentioned an earlier trek to school if you transferred. Southwestern to Berkeley isn't an earlier trek, it's a move. I'm sure you're aware that they aren't even remotely close to each other. I'm not sure about your personal life (family, etc), but moving cities like that isn't a decision to be taken lightly.