My first year of college I had no idea what I wanted to do. As a result I did not attend class very often, and my GPA was a 3.2. Since then I have maintained a 3.8 GPA, or higher, through my sophomore and junior years. If I keep my GPA high and do well on the LSAT do I still have a chance to get into a great law school, or does that first year with a 3.2 GPA ruin my chances?
The LSAC calculator is a good place for you to start. https://officialguide.lsac.org/release/OfficialGuide_Default.aspx
Most law schools look at the raw data first (since that's what impacts their rankings). They divide the applications into three piles. Automatic in, automatic reject, and further review. The further review applications are analyzed a little bit (but job experience and awards are really only tiebreakers), and then they are divided into reject, waitlist, and accept.
According to LSAC, If you have a 3.5 cumulative and a 165 LSAT, you are the median applicant at schools like Fordham, BYU, Wisconsin, and UC Davis.
You'd be in the bottom quarter of applications at places like Harvard, NYU, Duke, Penn, Virginia, UCLA, Michigan, USC, Texas, and Cornell.
By contrast, if you had a 3.8 and 165, you'd still be in the bottom quarter of Harvard, NYU, Duke, Virginia, Penn, and Michigan, but you'd be above the bottom quarter of Cornell, UCLA, Vandy, and you'd be around the median at schools like Texas and George Washington.