Actually, OK, one more thought...supplanting my previous no comment. For people out there applying as a 1L or as a transfer, and considering my recently revealed institution of higher education, I must provide this disclaimer: There are reasons to go to this school. The faculty is brilliant; being taught as a 1L by the legal equivalent of Olympians is both terrifying and exciting. And wonderful. This faculty knows their *&^%. They really know their *&^%. And my classmates are very smart, at least very smart in the way people with high LSAT scores and near limitless capacity for information gathering are very smart (but hey, that's as smart as law students get- we're not expected to be brillaint theorists, only brilliant technicians [which, by the way explains a great deal of my distress in law school. I wanted law to be righteous, and it's only functional]). Anyway, my point is, it's a great school. But only great for people who are highly competitive, pretty d**mn conservative, know they're going to work in BigLaw and have no interest in doing anything else, a little nerdy, and yes, "intense." I don't like it here, but there are people who really do, who wouldn't trade it for anything, and I actually envy them. So, if you've seen The Paper Chase a few too many times and have thought to yourself, "gee I wish there were still professors like Kingsfield, schools like Harvard before it went soft... because, d**mnit I could kick ass in a place like that," well, have I got a school for you.
What schools are less firm-focused than Chicago? Don't many people self-select for Chicago because they are interested in things besides firms, like clerkships and academics? I would agree that law schools in general are too close to the big firms, but what about Chicago makes it more firm-centric than NYU or Columbia?
What law schools are less competitive? Will going down in the rankings, where people are even worse off for grade cutoffs, really alleviate competition?
Is your beef with Chicago in particular, or just law school in general?