I know this is an old post, but for others who are curious, you may find this helpful. I bombed the LSAT. I mean, I straight up commissioned an al Qaeda-style they'll-never-see-it-coming hack job. So my options are slim. So these are my likely competetive schools. I'm from Orange, went to UCI, had a 3.645 UGPA, a 3.626 GGPA, and 3.41 XGPA (according to LSDAS calcs). Now, I had about 1 month from my decision to attend law school to research schools, research the process, apply for financial aid, apply to the schools, ask for letters of rec, study for the LSAT, etc. Assume I must go this application cycle or never. Took the February LSAT -- not even considered for some schools. No chance for a re-take that will affect admissions (only perhaps a difference in financial aid money if I were to re-take).
So: being that there is this somewhat hyped-up prestige-o-philia in law school forums and in the whole process of obtaining a degree, I thought I'd weigh in on a little secret. I'm working for a VERY successful and powerful law firm. I know where ALL of our attorneys received their degrees (did a Bar check online). Guess what? With the exception of ONE attorney, ALL of our attorneys got their degrees from third or fourth tier schools, INCLUDING the partners and principle of the firm. They bill at $500/hr. The MANAGING attorneys, which includes the one attorney with a tier 1 degree (from Boston) and other attorneys from tier 3 & 4 schools, bill at $400/hr. Oh, and most of the managing attorneys got their degrees in 2008 or later. So within 4 years, they're towards the top of the chain as far as billing is concerned. Attorneys at this firm start below what most kids in law school imagine they'll be making, to be sure. It's a "measly" $80k. Okay, that's half of those "Biglaw" starting salaries where you'll work yourself to an early death.
So here's the secret: WHERE YOU GET YOUR DEGREE IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS HOW WELL YOU INTERVIEW, AND WHO YOU KNOW. Oh, sure, for the Harvard and Yale some-day-gonna-be-president crew, it matters. But for the average lawyer, you can work your way up. Even in this economy, firms are hiring. You just have to know where to look, and how to interview.
I applied to ~40 schools and have not heard back from one yet. Over half my schools were wishful thinking "reach" schools. I have very strong "soft" factors, so I figured, why not? Maybe they'll take a chance on me. Unlikely, but I still would rather know. So do not be discouraged if Cal Western, or TJ, or Southwestern is all you can get into. As long as you aren't going to Cooley, I think you'll be okay. That being said, I have a friend attending Whittier (another 4th tier local college we like to hire from), and he said the grading curve is harsh, and the competition ferocious. So if you do plan to go to a bottom feeder school, bring your A-game, because it is no sure thing. Pay close attention to attrition rates and tuition. Make the smartest choice you can, and do all your research before you accept an offer of admission.