First and foremost realize that anything you read on this board or others myself included comes from anonymous internet posters that know nothing about you, your situation, or goals and on the internet anyone can give themselves delusions of grandeur for all you know I could be the Dean of Harvard Law School or a crackhead in a public library. Therefore, take anything you read from anonymous internet posters with a major grain of salt.
With that intro I am familiar with USF, because I live right next to the campus and am a lawyer in San Francisco. Ymy litigation partner went there as did a number of other attorneys I deal with in court all the time. As with any law school in America from Harvard to Cooley there are great lawyers and terrible lawyers from every school. I have met some great attorneys from USF and some terrible ones at the end of the day whether you succeed in the legal profession has far more to do with the individual than the school they attended.
I think this is a great article explaining how to choose a law school. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html
With that intro I will go into a little bit about USF and the Bay Area Law Schools. For all intents and purposes if you want to live in the Bay Area University of San Francisco is a fine school. The campus itself is beautiful and San Francisco is an amazing City. One of the realities of attending law school in a major city like San Francisco is that all the law schools in the area will often have the same professors. Outstanding lawyers often want to live in San Francisco, New York, L.A, etc and University of Nebraska could be ranked far higher than a Tier 4 in San Francisco, but the professor will often prefer to live in San Francisco opposed to Nebraska. However, there are plenty of talented lawyers that would prefer Nebraska over the Hustle and Bustle of a City, but that is the main point there are countless paths to choose and you need to evaluate what is best for YOU.
In the Bay area for example there are 6 ABA schools. (1) Stanford; (2) Berkeley; (3) Hastings; (4) Santa Clara; (5) USF (6) Golden Gate.
The same professors teach at these schools because the law is the same. A professor can spend an hour teaching contracts at Golden Gate hop on Bart teach at Hastings then take the N line down to USF and teach four hours in one day while collecting three paychecks and many do.
One example is Peter Keane who was an excellent Criminal Defense Lawyer in San Francisco. He now teaches both Constitutional Law, Trial Advocacy and Criminal Procedure at Golden Gate, Hastings, USF, and has lectured at all the bay area schools. Below are his profiles for both Hastings and Golden Gate. http://www.uchastings.edu/academics/faculty/facultybios/keane/index.php http://law.ggu.edu/faculty/bio/peter-keane
So whether you attend Hastings or Golden Gate next year you will read the same Con Law Book likely written by Chemerinsky and Peter Keane will teach it to you in San Francisco.
Jon Sylvester is another contracts expert in the Bay Area who teaches everywhere. You will read the Contracts book written by Epstein and likely take 1L contracts from Jon Sylvester. http://law.ggu.edu/law/faculty/bio/jon-sylvester http://www.uchastings.edu/academics/faculty/facultybios/sylvester/index.php
I could go on and on with examples of this, but the important thing to realize is that at any ABA law school you will learn the same thing. U.S. News is nothing more than a magazine offering an opinion and back when I was applying to law schools University of San Francisco was ranked in the top 70 schools and I guess now it is not, but in a few years it will probably go back up again.
This is par for the course of law school rankings as U.S. News is nothing more than a magazine offering an opinion. U.S. News ranks more than law schools and listed Albuquerque New Mexico as the number one place to live. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009
(I imagine you are not considering applying to New Mexico Law School, because U.S. News ranked it the #1 place to live as it would be crazy to make a life altering decision such as where to live based on a magazine's opinion.
However, for some reason incoming law students make life altering decisions based on U.S. News. U.S. News is not doing anything wrong by publishing it's opinion and it us up to people to apply common sense when choosing a law school. Conclusion:
There will never be right answer as to what school to choose. I was accepted to 20 different schools and I always think what if I would have chosen X? I will never know and even know I really enjoy by job, but I had other offers again what if I had chosen? Again, I can't know and one of the most important thing for a lawyer to be is decisive and the sooner you come to realize that there is no right answer and nobody really knows what they are doing the further you will go.
Good luck in your pursuit of a legal education and if you have any specific questions about USF or San Francisco you can personal message me or just keep sharing on this board.