Remember when reading these law school boards that all the information is coming from anonymous internet posters so take anything you read including my post with a grain of salt.
With that said Roald makes excellent points and I want to expand upon a few of them. First I don't know if there is any such thing as a "bad" ABA law school the reality of legal education is that it is all the same. Your first year at any law school will consist of contracts, property, torts, criminal law, criminal procedure, con law, and civil procedure. You will read U.S. Supreme Court cases like Palsgraff, Hadley v. Baxendale etc and they are quite literally identical the Supreme Court doesn't write special opinions for different schools the curriculum is the same at all ABA schools. When you finally reach bar prep how you handle it is very personal to the individual a school can' t make you study.
Here is a list of the California bar exams from each school http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=PL6VLVgQEIM%3d&tabid=2269&mid=3159
8 people from Harvard failed the California bar that has nothing to do with Harvard much more the individual. That is how many form of education you have the ability to make it a good or bad experience and any ABA school will get you a ticket to a bar exam, which is really all you need law school for.
As for the 2.9 GPA you can get into plenty of ABA school particularly with a strong LSAT. I think lawschoolnumbers.com is one of the best sites to see what your chances are as well as scholarship opportunities. With a 2.9 and a 160-165 it looks like you would get between a 40 to 45,000 scholarship http://thomasjefferson.lawschoolnumbers.com/applicants/1112/
It looks like California Western might offer you an 80k scholarship or more http://calwestern.lawschoolnumbers.com/applicants/1112/
I also think these 5 factors are what any potential law student should consider 1 Location
In my opinion this is the most important factor when choosing a law school. If you want to live in San Francisco after graduation go to law school in San Francisco, if your from Idaho and want to be close to your family after graduation go to law school in Idaho. The vast majority of schools only have connections in their immediate area and on top of that you will get internships etc in the area your attending school. For example if your going to law school in L.A. you cannot do an internship in New York during the school year and since there are no shortage of law schools in New York or New Jersey there would be no reason to reach out to L.A.
Also law school doesn't exist in a vaccum and the day to day life will play a factor. For example if your ultra liberal, gay, etc going to law school in Arkansas is probably not going to go well and if your ultra conservative going to law school in San Francisco won't go well. If your a person that loves night life etc going to law school in East Lansing Michigan or Tulsa Oklahoma will be hard to handle. If your someone that likes a quiet atmosphere then don't attend New York Law School in the heart of New York's Financial District. These are all factors that are unique to each individual and really consider location.2) COST
Almost every law school except for a few schools that offer in-state tuition like Florida International, South Dakota, North Dakota, and few others tuition is going to run you approximtely 100k and if your in a location like N.Y. or San Francisco the living expenses for 3 years will probably add on another 50-100k. All of which is accruing interest often at 6 or 8%. This means you can have 8,000 or so in interest alone a year so it is important to really consider cost.
Many schools offer merit scholarships that should be considered even if other schools are "higher ranked" for example if you can get a full scholarship at Gonzaga University compared to paying full tuition at Seattle University then it might be wise to take it since I would imagine most people do not consider either much school must better than the other.
Also as a sidenote each ABA law school quite literally teaches you the same thing your first year will be contracts, torts, civil procedure, legal writing, property, criminal law, criminal procedure, and constitutional law or some slight variation, but all those courses will be taken. In Torts you will read the Palsgraff case, Contracts Hadley v. Baxendale etc and all you do at any ABA school is read Supreme Court Decisions and the Supreme Court doesn't take time to write different opinions for different schools. Whether you read the Palsgraff case at Harvard or in West Virginia the firecrackers get dropped and proximate cause is established.3) Personal Feeling about the School
I personally was accepted to several law schools and I visited a lot as well as participated in some mock trial competitions and I saw a lot of different law schools. There were some that I really liked and some that I really didn't like. My reasons were completely personal to me and what I liked you may have hated and vice versa. You can talk to professors, students, admins, etc and really see first hand what the school is like. I highly recommend doing that prior to making a 3 year 100,000+ commitment just make sure the school fits your personality.4. Specialty Programs
This ties in more with location rather than the school, but you can still use it as a factor. For example if you really want to do entertainment law then you should go to law school in New York or L.A. that is where movies, t.v shows, etc are made. Therefore, schools in those locations will have a lot of alumni in the area, adjuncts that work in the field will teach in the school, you can get internships at those places during law school and so on. If you want to do entrainment law then going to Idaho law school will not be an ideal spot.
Then there are a few schools that do mock trial competitions which are good and you can kind of see how seriously a school takes that by how many teams they have and how well they do. For example South Texas law school is amazing at Trial Advocacy competitions I have seen there courtroom and they almost won every competition I was ever win they are just good at it. If there is some area of law you are interested in you can look at to what programs they offer.
However, if you are not particularly interested in any area of law don't consider it and don't worry about it. Plenty of law students and even lawyers don't really know what they want to do.5 Rankings
This is a factor, but remember U.S. News is nothing more than a for-profit magazine offering an opinion. They rank more than law schools and Albuquerque New Mexico is the best place to live now according to them and South & North Dakota will be the best places to live in 2032. One of the main factors for South Dakota being selected as a hot spot in 2032 is because they estimate dental visits will be easy to access. I am not making this up either straight from their website http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2012/08/07/here-are-the-best-places-to-livein-2032
I highly doubt you are going to make life altering choice and move to Albuquerque because a magazine says you should or start saving to move to South Dakota in 2032. Use the same logic when choosing your law school don't let some magazine be your main guide. No harm in considering it, but don't make a life altering choice based on a magazine.Conclusion
Those are just some factors to consider and hopefully some of that info is helpful. Also remember I am nothing more than an anonymous internet poster and you should get info directly from people you can interact with face to face to assess their credibility. Good luck .