Seems to me that a hugely important aspect of the law school application/selection process is generally being overlooked on this forum: Cost.
Obviously ranking (UNS News based or otherwise) is important, because in very broad terms the higher your law school is ranked the better its perception is among employers, which in turn increases your relative odds of getting a Big Law job (which seems to be what most folks on here desire). That said, once you have actual gotten into a "good" law school (I will define "good" as any one regularly ranked in the top 20, although feel free to quibble on what the arbitrary cut-off should be), what you quickly realize is that your chances of (1) getting interviews, and (2) getting a job, is based almost solely on how you have actually performed in said law school relative to your peers (and to a lesser extent what fancy journal you are a member of, with the Law Review being the obvious best option). In short, outside of the top say 5 schools on the list, you need to get good to very good grades (no easy thing, given the ludicrously antiquated and capricious manner in which law school grading is generally conducted) at your school in order to be relatively assured of landing a Big law job in any event. And once that realization sinks in, COST looms as a rather large consideration. Take, for example, a hypothetical student X. X had the grades and the LSAT to get into a bunch of tasty law schools. X had the choice between fine institutions ranked anywhere from 7 to 15 on the law school rankings range. Based on the prevailing wisdom that higher rankings are King, X enrolls at the school ranked 7th. It is a small, private school halfway across the country from where he went to college/is from. It costs a fortune and the weather blows. X is a middling student at X, and his grades fall into the great, undifferentiated mass of "ok" that constitutes the bulk of the law school student body. The prestigious law review is not an option, and thus X is a member of some journal about foreign law and policy. X isn't an editor of said journal, because frankly he would like to have some free time. X gets his OCI at-bats, because he is at a top flight school, but X doesn't exactly kill because X is not in the top third of his class and lacks super-star extras on his resume. X ends ups clerking at three firms over two summers, one of which doesn't make X an offer, and then predictably takes the offer from the biggest of the two firms that do make offers. X enters his randomly selected Big Law job in a random city with a boat-load of debt (not at all uncommon of course). Of course, all in all, X has "succeeded." He has grasped the brass ring and leased a nice car. BUT......what if X had chosen a lower ranked, but significantly less expensive school? Say X is eligible for in-state tuition at say, a school rankled 11th or 14th (these are randomly elected #s, not matched to this year's rankings)? What if X went to one of those schools, paid significantly less, did a bit better grade-wise (as the overall competition was slightly less rabid)? One very possible scenario is this: X goes through the same random OCI process, gets another random Big Law job (in a different city) and makes about the same amount of money doing the same work, but with less debt. X also realizes, as everyone does, that once one enters Big Law, where you went to school and what the school's rank was is essentially meaningless, aside from people liking to share war stories and give each other a hard time. What matters is work, and how much of it you can or will do.
Anyway, obviously one size does not fit all here. Elite law schools were some sort of an in-state tuition break are an option at all are relatively rare, and the fact pattern above won't work for plenty of people. But, the overall concepts still hold: think about the cost, and realize that the cost may not be worth it in the end (from a ultimate job placement/career perspective) unless you are confident you can excel at the school you pick. If gazing at a certain diploma while you review docs or revise a brief at 8:00 p.m. is going to be "worth it" for you, then there is no real counter-argument to that. I am also putting aside the "quality of the legal education" angle here, as that is pointless (something else you will all realize once you actually get into law school - but that is a whole other post...)