Excellent posts above and as for the comment about TLS realize that anything you read on the internet comes from anonymous internet posters so take it with a grain of salt. However, that includes my post and the ones above. Michael Scott explains it best : ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00
a little humor for you.
With that intro I think any law student should consider the following five factors. (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about School; (4) Understanding the Reality of Legal Education and (5) Last and Least U.S. News Rankings. Here is a good article analyzing these factors http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html
Below is a brief analysis of the five factors to your situation. (1) Location:
You are living in the East Bay and considering a cross country move. As Maintain said would you be happy drafting wills & defending DUI's in St. Louis? That might happen more importantly even if you get you dream job out of law school would St. Louis be a place you want to spend the rest of your life? Or at the very least a minimum of three years?
I live in San Francisco and it's awesome I just got offered an awesome job in Sacramento doing the exact kind of work I wanted, but I didn't want to move to Sacramento and turned it down. On paper it sounded great to me, but in reality leaving the Bay Area is not what I wanted. Or you just thinking these schools sound good, but not really thinking about where you want to live? Being happy with the City you live in is one of the most important things to consider. 2) Cost
As Loki mentions cut costs and be wary of the scholarship conditions. Also, look at the actual tuition of each school.
Saint Louis University for example offers in-state tuition if you get residency at $26,000 per year $36,000 per year out-of-state.
Case Western is a flat $44,000 a year.
So if you get in-state tuition at SLU even without a scholarship your paying $78,000 in tuition vs. $132,000 in tuition at Case Western. I think many students assume all schools cost the same, but they vary. In that scenario even if Case Western gave a $15,000 a year scholarship you would still pay less at SLU. So just look at the actual tuition costs. This page from LSAC provides info on every school's rates. 3) Personal Feelings about School:
When I was a 0L I visited numerous schools and when I was in law school I did numerous mock trial competitions and visited even more schools. What I realized is that each school has a culture to it some I loved others I hated, but that is just me. For some reason I loved South Texas Law School, I was pissed off when I got sent to that Mock Trial Competition instead of the Chicago one I had been to the year before, but I just loved everyone I met at the school and the pride that had in their litigation team etc.
Other schools like Hastings aren't my cup of tea. In the heart of the Tenderloin, dirty, students in a bad mood etc just doesn't do it for me. There are plenty of people that love Hastings and they are letting us use their basketball gym for the San Francisco Bar Association Lawyer League so Hastings isn't all bad, but that school and me would not be a fit. However, you might love it and the only way for you to know if a school is a fit for you is to visit, talk to students, professors, alumni, work around campus, the neighborhood etc. Typically your gut will give you a good or bad feeling about a place and your gut knows more about you than anyone else. 4) Reality of Legal Education:
At any ABA school you will read Supreme Court Cases and take Torts; Contracts; Civ Pro etc during your first year. You will read Pennoyer v. Neff to learn notice; Palsgraf to learn proximate cause; Hadley v. Baxendale to learn contract remedies and the hairy hand case of Paper Chase fame as well.
To sum it up any ABA school will teach you the law and after you graduate you will then take BarBri or Kaplan to help you pass the bar. 5) Rankings:
Remember that U.S. News Rankings is nothing more than a for profit magazine offering an opinion. They are doing nothing wrong by offering an opinion, but it should not be the basis of a life altering decision.
U.S. News Ranks Alberqueue New Mexico as the #1 place to live. I am sure New Mexico is great, but I imagine you are not going to apply to University of New Mexico, because U.S. News said it is the best place to live. It would be crazy to move to a City because a magazine said it was #1 right? Yes it would be.
It is also crazy to make a 3 year, $100,000+, career changing decision on where to attend law school based on a magazine as well. Use it as a tiebreaker perhaps and for entrainment, but don't let the rankings play a big factor in your decision. Conclusion:
From my understanding of your post you want to be in the Bay Area. If you want to be in the Bay Area attend law school in the Bay Area and see what if anything you can do to reduce costs. If you move to St. Louis for law school it will be hard to get back to the Bay after. Not impossible, but difficult.
Good luck with everything and congrats on your acceptances.