The highest USNWR rankings are true self-fulfilling prophesies. Add two pinches of real geniuses, a pinch of "feel good" students from sympatheic backgrounds, a convincingly high number of incidental "statistical" geniuses who (for one reason or another) rocked the LSATs/uGPAs, and top it all off with the creamy froth of well-heeled legacies who don't fall into the first or third aforementioned categories.
Next, tally the opinions/perceptions of the thoroughly entrenched and established.
Along the way, let us disregard expenses beyond the scope of the process:
-Private high school guidance counselor: $25,000
-Charitable donation of family member 9 months before law school application: $75,000-?
-Private LSAT tutoring: $4000 and up
-Arranged dinner with the Dean of X law school 2 months before law school application: $100 meal + (insert quid pro quo here)
The results? Priceless. "Meritocracy Light"
It is, of course, in the nature of society to manifest all forms of nepotism, just as it is in the nature of capitalist societies to both woo and revolve around wealth. One might as well ask the sky to stop being blue. But that doesn't mean I have to drink the koolaid and succumb to the temptation of projecting innate talent and superiority, by default, on those who emerge from pedigreed law schools.
Bud Fox: This is really a nice club, Mr. Gekko.
Gordon Gekko: Yeah, not bad for a City College boy. I bought my way in, now all these Ivy league schmucks are sucking my kneecaps
Those who care to may freely underestimate me--I go to Brooklyn Law School. But several years from now, in the heat of litigation, you do so at your own risk.