Ok, now I am NOT interested in your view of Cal Western's ranking. From everything I have read/seen from actual students/faculty, the school is a great place to be. I am interested in the school itself, ie the atmosphere, faculty, and actual preparation for becoming a lawyer.
any input would be appreciated
This is just my anecdotal experience, so take it for what it's worth...
I clerked at a non-profit in San Diego last summer. The clerks were pretty evenly split between Thomas Jefferson, Cal Western, and USD students. The actual supervising attorneys at this organization were all Cal Western grads, and they were very loyal to and proud of their school. I mean, they had nothing but great things to say about the campus, the administration, the professors, etc. Of course, to be fair, these are the graduates who became working attorneys. Thomas Jefferson students were hungry as hell and were the most obviously hard workers, the Cal Western students were great and the USD students were the best leaders.
Through my job, I ended up connecting with a lot of other attorneys in the SD area. I met a surprising number of solo practitioners- and they were all from either Cal Western or Thomas Jefferson. They were working attorneys though, with, for the most part, successful practices.
In general, my impression of the lower ranked law schools has improved through my real life experiences. I know the odds are still against you and I don't disagree with the advice that students at lower ranked schools ought to be fully prepared for what they are getting into. But there are flesh and blood graduates of Tier 3/4 schools that are not the fist dragging mouth breathers you start to picture when you're in the middle of law school apps and all anyone can do is proclaim lower ranked schools to be bastions of idiocy. The Thomas Jefferson kids I worked with were very bright. I felt like a pretentious ass thinking to myself, 'I wonder what their LSAT scores really were, why didn't they score higher?!'
I'm not advising you what to do because only you know what's best for you. Nor am I asserting any conclusions about what my personal experience means, just throwing my random observations out there.