To the OP, what I don't actually understand is why people come here to attend school having never set foot in this city, which seemed to be more the norm at the ASD's I was at in March. I'm really too entrenched now to leave (so thankfully I still like it here), and I simply don't trust the prospect of going somewhere else where I know absolutely no one. I've worked here for years and if there's one incredibly unfair advantage you can be sure I'll be using, it's the fact that I know and am on good terms with the very people in charge of hiring at the agencies I'm interested in working at. With the exception of my entry level job in the legal field, where I busted my ass to make a good impression, every subsequent hire has been because I know someone who knows somebody who can put in a good word. That's just how it works here. Granted, you *might* be able to make some of these connections while in school but let's face it, no one really takes 1L and 2L interns/externs all that seriously anyway. Even if you are an NYU or Columbia kid, you were still facing a market that didn't take every member of your graduating class even before the economy crashed. If you're really dead set on coming to New York (or another heavily saturated market), do yourself a favor: move there, find a job, get used to the shock of $1000+ per month rent, and go to law school only AFTER you've made the connections you'll need to fall back on when it comes to hiring season. Otherwise, stay home. And hey, it can even help you make a more rational decision as to whether or not this is actually the right step for you rather than jumping into it because *gasp* you're 23 and not doing anything with your English degree.
EDIT: Oh, and to answer the original question: people ought to go to these schools, ON scholarship, if they plan to work some kind of city, state, or nonprofit position and cannot afford the tuition of a T14 in say, Michigan (besides, the Brooklyn DA's office, for example, couldn't really give a damn about someone from Ann Arbor). It's not necessary to secure those jobs if you have all of the things I discussed above. I plan on aiming for a Skadden or Equal Justice Works fellowship post-grad, then the DA's office, and then attempt to hit the federal level. I'm playing around with the idea of clerking as well. Point being, I don't want BigLaw. Never have. I understand some people do, but it's not for me. But I certainly wasn't going to pay "BigLaw prices" for a school that had a snowball's chance in hell of getting me there if I wanted to. BLS and Dozo both have fairly good placement in NYC for public interest/gov't work, and I suspect that's why people go there (myself included; I opted for Dozo because I liked it better). However, they'd be nuts to go there w/o substantial scholarship, and I can't understand why I seemed to be in the minority of people bouncing the two off each other in order to get increased scholarship amounts.