Good schools don't guarantee good lawyers.
Good students don't guarantee good lawyers.
Same goes for bad schools and bad students.
A lot goes into the mix.
when -- God willing -- we finish law school and practice the law, we'll see what works and who's a good lawyer.
The proof is in the pudding.
Care to elaborate?
You make a valid point. There are those who slip through the cracks at every institution, as there are those who excel at mediocre schools. However, although there is no objective way to qualitatively judge law school graduates, top law firms still prefer graduates from highly-ranked schools. That is not to say that they will never hire an exceptional graduate from a 4th Tier school, but the trend certainly doesn't show a preference for the latter.
I am certain that each person who goes to a DL program or a 4th Tier school banks on being just that exceptional graduate, but, by definition, not every DL or 4th Tier grad can be exceptional. It is naive to go to attend such a program and believe that you have a "good shot" at top law firms when so much evidence points to the contrary.
What DOWNY and some other posters mean, I think, is that those who choose to attend such programs should be more realistic than to believe that the anecdotal evidence about this and that graduate from their program that made it big is going to undoubtedly materialize into reality for them.