U.S. News is the best ranking out there right now and it does factor in the most important aspects. However, my objection to their rankings is the reliance on personal opinion of reputation from unqualified persons. I call these persons unqualified because a judge in New York or Hawaii is unlikely to have any experience with a graduate of a Texas law school, yet they are asked to rank the school.
Because of this, anything below the top 50 is going to be a regional school and anyone outside the region is less likely to be able to accurately assess the quality of the graduates. Therefore, the further down the list you go, the less the actual ranking matters.
(On an aside, I suspect this favors schools in more densely populated regions like the Northeast, etc. potentially giving them an artificial boost up the rankings.)
Quite right as to all points. This is why we should look at rankings in groupings and location and one's own specific circumstances, rather than as a linear (supposed) truth. It is pointless to compare Harvard with [choose your Tier 1, 2, 3, 4 favorite here]. It doesn't matter who's doing the judging, or how "subjective" is their judgment, collective or individual. Likewise, it is misleading to compare law schools within a half-dozen places of each other--or even within a few dozen places of each other, depending upon one's specific, singular factors.
To take Texas as an example, even with UT-Austin as the lead school in the state, there are still numerous other factors. For a major employer in, say, Houston, a UT grad will compete with one from Harvard . . . and the Longhorn might well be at the disadvantage, depending upon individual factors. (i.e., here's where individual performance and connections count.) But for a smaller firm, the assumption is that the Harvard grad is slumming, and perhaps somehow couldn't land a job at a "real" firm to which Harvard grads are presumed to be headed. Even that is simplistic: a "major" firm can be a branch office of a national firm, or a top regional firm. Believe it or not, the top regional firm will, in general, be better regarded within that market than the national firm's branch. Why? Because the regional firm is a full-service firm, handling all matters of top clients from that area; the branch is likely there to serve a national or global client, but might have a relative handful of attorneys. Not that the national firm's attorneys will not be taken seriously--they just won't be as significant a force in that market. In each market, something similar is operating. San Antonio, as you know, is very much its own culture, quite distinct from Dallas, Houston, Austin, and, well, every other of the 26 (?) cities in Texas. Comparing San Antonio to Lubbock is not just misleading, it's downright silly--and yet both cities have lawyers, judges, firms, and new openings. In short, there's a lot more to rank, prestige, etc., than a grossly simplistic, single "ranking" system.