Hope my opinion helps in decision making.
I personally know someone who works at USD's admissions office. This year, they received ridiculously huge amount of applications. The applications almost doubled this year compared to last year.
USD has been ranked around 60s for long time. Only the time they dipped into 80s was a couple years ago, but when USD claims that they jumped into 50s w/n 2 years, that is so misleading, because USD forgot to submit one factor that particular year and that was the only reason its ranking sank so hard that year. And that was the only year USD was ranked so poorly in recent years.
As you all know by now, USD ranked 56 this year, and according to one of faculties (not one from admissions office), tier 1 is rock solid and though their rankings can change w/n tier 1, its so hard to break into tier 1. So, though I would love to see USD becoming tier 1 school and feel like its very likely, I am not sure if that is possible.
As I said, they received so many applications this year. In addition, the quality of student body got stronger. I can almost guarantee you that USD's ranking will not go down next year, if not going up, because the average GPA and LSAT of incoming students are higher than last year.
USD is good school, especially if you want to practice in SD. Its not tier 1, and cannot compete against UCLA thats only 2 hrs away from USD and their students often come to SD to practice. However, 1/4 of practicing attorneys in San Diego is from USD. Imagine how strong their alumni network is in SD. Lots of ppl land their jobs through networking. (I do not like it, but its true) And your alumni network can work better than what you have on your resume. However, sadly if you go out of SD, you will lose the network. And If you want to practice in eastcoast, dont come to USD.
There are still a few things I dont like about USD. First, its really regional school. But then, anything outside of T14 (or T30 if you want to stretch) is regional school anyway. Second, USD undergrad is -honestly in my opinion - not a good school. When undergrad isnt good, there is a limit their grad can grow. And you will often find rich undergrad brats taking law school students space in law school's parking lot and law school's library.
There are also things I like about USD. First, their professors are amazing! I mean, I never went to any other law school, so it may not be fair to say that. But every professors I've had so far are so inspiring and engaging. They will never turn down students who are stupid but working so hard. Second, you can easily find free lunch on campus. Their various clubs hold various seminars with guest speakers, and those seminars come with free lunch. And they have those really often. Free lunch may sounds corny, but it gets really hand when you are a law student on financial aid. Third, their housing is cheap. (thats cheaper than LA) You can manage to find one bedroom for 1k and two bedroom for 1.6k and share. You can even go down cheaper.. like 700 for one bedroom. Good thing about SD is that wherever you go, the neighborhood itself is fairly safe. So, even if you end up living in a ghetto neighborhood to save money, its not really ghetto or dangerous.
If you dont get accepted into USD, dont feel bad, because somehow they just received way more strong applications this year. And somehow not that many ppl withdrew, so you will not see many slots opening for waitlist. You know, its just bad timing.
If you do get into USD, I hope you come to USD, because USD is indeed working so hard to get better academically and ranking wise as well. USD indeed has so many law professors who graduated from prestigious law schools, and makes me even wonder why the ranking is so low when they have law professors who are in fact well known in their field. I often felt like those professors were too smart for the student body. (Trust me. Its not hard to recruit professors who want to live in SD).
Oh well, this is just my honest opinion, and hope did not offend anyone, and wish you luck with the rest of application process. =)