4) If I do go to a higher ranked school, and don’t make law review, are there other opportunities for publishing, and do I have still have a chance at academia?
Most higher ranked schools have multiple journals. If they have enough, then virtually anyone who wants to be on a journal will have the opportunity. E.g. at NU, there is law review, the journal of criminal justice and criminology, the journal of international business, the journal of technology and intellectual property, the journal of law and social policy, and the journal of internation human rights. For the first time this year, they offered a write-on competition for transfers (and AJDs). The competition is superior to the old straight write-on path, because it doesn't force you to choose a single journal. You can put in for law review and still get a secondary journal if you don't make it. You will also know whether or not you are on a journal shortly after the writing competition, rather than having to spend an entire semester as a "probationary" member. Check with the schools you are considering to see how they do it.
I believe most schools offer senior/independent research for credit (and to fulfill the writing requirement) as well. I would think this is an excellent opportunity to write something of publishable quality as well, assuming you can recruit an advisor willing to put in the work.