I realize that it has been about five years since this topic was first posted but I felt a need to respond.
First of all, Never let anyone step on your dream of becoming a lawyer. I find it appalling that there are people who under the guise of "being helpful but realistic" are instead being just the opposite by posting really rude, condescending, disrespectful and unhelpful things. You can be realistic and helpful without being a jerk. I too am realistic but unlike others on this website (and others that I've read) prefer to be positive and encouraging while remaining realistic.
Here's the deal;
If you graduate from a 4th tier law school, the best that you can hope for is getting hired at a top firm in the city where the law school is located. However, unless you graduate at or near the top of your class, this option will likely not be available to you. In this case, the best you could hope for is getting on with a small or midsized firm once again in the city where the law school is located. Others may also decide to put up their own shingle and start their own solo practice. Even in these instances a career in Biglaw is still a remote possibility. Doing a lateral transfer to a BIGLAW firm would mean acquiring several years of experience and building a really good reputation. It would also mean doing some serious networking along the way.
Now to address the 800 lb gorilla in the room;
Law school is an expensive undertaking. When all is said and done you are likely to accumulate $120,000+ in non-dischargeable debt. There's no way around it. This money MUST be repaid and Uncle Sugar is going to get What's his no matter what! That being said there are options available to repay at a reasonable rate. If you do Public interest law for a certain number of years you can have all or most of your student loan debt erased. You can also opt to repay your loan as a percentage of your income. By law you can't be forced to pay more that 15% of your income towards your student loans under this option. Finally if you make steady and on time payments for at least 10 or 15 years you can request to have the remaining balance of your loans written off. So you have options. Don't listen to anyone who says otherwise.
If the only law school you could get accepted into is a 4th tier school then go with it. You have no other choice at this point. Work hard to get good grades your first year and transfer to a higher ranked school. If accepted into a higher ranked school then by all means transfer no matter what the other school offers, (scholarship, law review etc.) Transfer! Look into taking the law preview course http://www.lawpreview.com/
so that you can be as prepared as possible when you start and have a leg up on your competition.
In the end, nothing in life is guaranteed. I think everyone knows that. But its always best to go in with eyes wide open and armed with as much information as possible. Good luck to you and everyone else (including my self). And when you're successful, track down all the naysayers here and let them know.