First realize that anything you read from anonymous internet posters on this board or others my post included should be taken with a grain of salt. Anybody can post anything they want so do not take anything you read from anonymous internet sources to seriously.
With that said the job market is not that terrible and there are plenty of opportunities for law graduates, but it takes time to build a career particularly in the legal field.
As for the rankings please do not make a life altering decision based on a magazine remember it is a for profit magazine offering an opinion.
I have said times on this board that any law student should consider the following factors when choosing a law school in this order (1) Location; (2) Cost; (3) Personal Feelings about the school; (4) Understanding the reality of legal education; (5) Last and least U.S. News rankings.
Below is an analysis of each factor1) Location:
You say you do not care where the school is located, but this is something you should consider. Law school does not exist in a vacuum and life goes on if you have friends, family, connections etc in Michigan and want to live in Michigan after graduation then attend law school in Michigan.
If you attend law school in Ann Arbor Michigan or Westwood (UCLA) your experience will be very different L.A and Michigan are very different places and your whole experience will be different. Do you want to be in a place with beautiful weather, beautiful people, heavy traffic, expensive parties, plastic surgery, laker games, everybody wanting to be an actor etc? Or do you want be in the Midwest with a simpler lifestyle and bad weather? Nothing is wrong with either one, but you likely have a preference one way or the other.
Aside from the cultural differences by City you will make friends, enter into or solidify an existing romantic relationship, get an apartment and just build a life during your three years of law school and most law students do not move far from their law school.
Several reasons for this are if you are California you will likely take the California Bar at graduation, Michigan the Michigan bar at graduation etc. On top of that the professors at UCLA will have connections in L.A. not Michigan conversely professors in Michigan will have connections in Michigan. You will only be able to do not internships in the location you are living in during school so again another factor in favor of location.
So please consider location in your decision it is very important factor. 2) Cost
With your LSAT score and GPA you will likely have access to scholarships at numerous schools and getting out of school debt free is often a lot better than saying you attended the 19th best law school and having $200,000 in debt.
I strongly encourage you to apply to a number of schools in the area you want to live in and see what type of scholarship offers you receive. Also consider the school's location and look up actual costs. The cost of living to attend Columbia in NYC is going to be a hell of a lot more expensive than Ann Arbor Michigan so really analyze costs. (3) Personal Feelings about Schools:
It is important to realize each school has a culture to it and whether you like that culture or not is a question only you can answer. When I was a 0L I visited a number of schools some I hated others I loved, but you may love the ones I hated and vice versa.
When you have narrowed it down to a few schools I strongly encourage you to visit the contending schools talk to professors, admins, students, walk around the campus, etc and see what feels right. Some schools will give you a good feeling others will not.
4) Reality of Legal Education:
It is important to understand any ABA school will provide you with a quality education and for all intents and purposes you will learn the same exact thing at any school.
Your first year will consist of Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, and Crim Law. In these courses you will read Supreme Court cases and the Supreme Court does not write separate for different ranked schools. Whether you attend the #200 school or Harvard you will read Palsgraf in Torts to learn proximate cause, Pennoyver v. Neff in Civ pro to learn about notice etc.
At the end of three years you will take a BarBri or Kaplan bar review course with hundreds of other students from various law schools and then after months of intense studying cram into a room with thousands of law students to take a state bar exam. Whether you pass that exam or not will have a lot more to do with you than the school you attend and if you don't pass your not a lawyer if you pass you are.
To sum it up any ABA school will provide you with a quality legal education. 5. U.S. News Rankings:
Your post contains one of the most common mistakes made by 0L's and that is thinking the rankings mean something. Obviously Harvard, Yale, etc are great schools, but so are a number of other schools. In reality if you want to live in Utah the best school to attend is BYU. If you want to live in Montana and Montana Law School. U.S. News is not based on anything and the rankings change year by year based on nothing.
Remember U.S. News Ranks more than just law schools and according to U.S. News Albuquerque, New Mexico is the #1 place to live. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/best-places-to-live
. Are you going to move to New Mexico, because U.S. News says it is the #1 place to live?
Use the same logic are you going to attend a law school, because U.S. News says X school is #19.
In the real world whether you make it in the legal profession has a lot more to do with you than the name of your school, but so many students make life altering decisions based on this magazine and it never goes well. Conclusion:
There is no right answer to what law school to attend, but use common sense and apply the various factors of location, cost and how you feel about a particular school and do not let some magazine tell you what is best for you.
The legal profession can be a great career and it sounds like you are taking steps in the right direction to become a lawyer.
Good luck in your future endeavors.