Sure -- but part of my point (actually MOST of my point) was that it's not all about the quantifiable numerical increase in chances.* A lot of the difference comes from the sort of information that's disseminated at these schools and the culture at these schools. YS at least have far, far more alums doing non-biglaw, and that sort of institutional knowledge and culture makes a big impact. If you are 100% sure that you want to do [x] job from the moment you start law school, the difference between you going to HYS and CCN is going to be much smaller -- assuming you stay committed to [x] job throughout. If, on the other hand, you suspect that you are interested in a certain category of job but are not sure, or simply care the most about doing something interesting and rewarding with your degree -- then, I think HYS vs CCN makes a very substantial difference. And the fact of the matter is that most top law students don't enter law school wanting to do biglaw. So many incoming students have other (generally much sexier) aspirations, if only vague aspirations. Far more of those students will see those aspirations fulfilled at HYS than at CCN. And if you're someone who places value on fulfilling whatever those aspirations are, that difference may be worth a ton. It is that marginal student who my post is directed to -- the ~25-50% of the class at HYS who are doing something pretty different from the biglaw-midlaw or biglaw-in house track within a couple of years of graduation.
Personally, I am fairly confident that I would not be in my current (amazing) job if I had attended CCN -- but not because I don't think I would have gotten an interview or wouldn't have been hired had I applied. I don't actually think I would have applied at all. I was very, very close to accepting a position in biglaw and was only dissuaded because there was just barely a critical mass of people in my very broad circle who were doing or thinking about doing some similar less traditional thing. Take even one of them away and I'm not sure I'm here. My sense from talking to these folks is that many of their decisions were similarly influenced and similarly close to never being made.
*I also think you've understated the amount of impact that HYS have on hiring as compared with CCN. After several years of post-law school experience in several high-profile jobs (many of which included some involvement in hiring), I've been continually struck by how often the legal community doesn't draw fine distinctions between the top law schools -- with the exception of HYS. My experience has been that a Michigan candidate in the top 10% will be treated virtually indistinguishably from a Columbia or Northwestern candidate in the top 10%. However, I've never been in an environment in which HYS didn't get some sort of special consideration--whether that meant being put on the top of the pile, looking at references for candidates that would otherwise have been prescreened, etc. HYS (especially YS in my experience) got a relatively very serious look usually regardless of anything else. I agree that the increases in chances out of HYS for unicorn jobs is very hard to quantify, and only likely impacts several students on the margins each year -- but I don't think that it makes the difference insubstantial or not worth paying any money for. When you are one of seven people from your school interested in some category of amazing job in a year, it makes a heck of a difference if five out of seven of these folks will get hired as opposed to three. Of course, this is all anecdotal and speculative.
What is not anecdotal that you've also overlooked is the impact that clerkships have on these sorts of chances. There are whole categories of "unicorn" job for which a clerkship is basically a requirement -- and since there are very substantial differences in clerkship %, at least between YS and the rest, that results in pretty substantial difference in chances. And given that not everyone at these schools wants to clerk, the difference between a 30% Article III clerkship rate and a 10% Article III clerkship rate is very likely the difference between a 50% clerk placement rate and a 20% rate.
Wait, what? Your argument is now (or maybe always was) that folks can get the same elusive & idyllic jobs from CCN but they might get swayed away from them by winding up in a class where more folks are on the biglaw track? That seems crazy to me, especially if you are talking about S or H, rather than Y. While it might be true that you would have wound up in biglaw from one of CCN rather than landing your super special job from HYS, how can it possibly make sense for someone who has already decided they don't want to take the biglaw track to give up a huge scholarship for what you now appear to concede isn't a much greater increase in chance of landing that job. What, they should pay $200K+ to avoid the chance that they might get swayed away from their current aspirations by going to a more biglaw-focused school?
I think, since you appear to acknowledge this, we can assume that the Rubenstein kid has a somewhat similar (though maybe slightly reduced) chance of landing one of these great jobs. So if landing one of these jobs is already so important to that person as an 0L that they are considering paying $200K to improve their chances of landing it, isn't it safe to assume they'll probably manage to maintain that aspiration even if all their law school friends wind up on the biglaw track? And if landing one of these jobs isn't that important to the person as an 0L, isn't it crazy to pay the extra $200K on the chance that they'll develop that aspiration during law school (or rather, the chance that they won't be able to develop that aspiration by going to one of CCN)
And what are these jobs? What are the secret idyllic clerkship-required jobs anyway?