Ok, that brings up a few more questions. First, where would rankings that would be a good determinate other than U.S. News be? Also, how do the rankings effect job opportunities other than Biglaw? Although I'm not ruling that idea out, I think I'm more intrested in something such as a lobbying firm. I'm really into politics, but not really Ecstatic about the pay that the government provides.
Lawnecon, I see that you crossed Richmond off your list. Any reason why? I am looking into applying there.
Well, I don't know if there are any set "official" rankings for how well a school is regarded in a certain region, but there usually is an informal pecking order in a city or region that might not precisely reflect the US News rankings. For example, in LA (according to many folks on this board), Southwestern has a better reputation than Pepperdine. Even though Pepperdine is ranked 80 something and SW is third tier. In DC, some people say Catholic has a better network of alumni than the much higher ranked American. However, usually, the US News ranking are pretty accurate.
The rankings tend to be most important in regard to big law, and you'll have to go to a pretty elite school (or have an amazing career) to have a shot at academia. Also, some of the better public interest sorts of jobs tend to prefer candidates from better school (the ACLU comes to mind). If you just want to work for a small firm in your home town, it probably doesn't matter too much (though regional name recognition could help). I don't know too much about lobbying.
I decided not to stay on the Richmond waitlist because Villanova is a better school with access to a larger region. Richmond is nice, but you pretty much have to stay in the area at least for a little while after graduation.