It is a risk reward analysis. If you can get into a top ten school and afford it, it will open doors to firms and corporations that believe that the brand of the school indicates the quality of a persons contribution. I don't know why, but that seems to be the mentality. A top ten school will likely lead to a higher initial salary at such a firm. Of course you will also have to have the grades and class standing to support this. Finally, you will also likely have a large debt that consumes a portion of that starting salary. The large firms are in major cities, so you can also expect to have a high cost of living, if you make into such a firms.
If you look beyond the top schools, or beyond being in the top 10-15% of your class, you have to take into account the fact that you will pay a lot for a law school education. A debt that is much harder to support than most people realize. Even if you become a patent attorney, until you have two years of experience or more, there is not much pay in the profession. When you start out, you will be competing for positions that can be more cheaply filled by an agent, a paralegal, or a tech specialist. So initially there is no premium to being a licensed patent attorney.
My suggestion is to go to the most affordable school you can, assuming you can't get into or cannot afford the top ten. In fact I am not even sure I should say top ten, maybe top five is a safer bet.
Keep in mind that less than 50% of those who graduate from law school are practicing attorneys five years after graduation.
Like most you are probably thinking: I can get into a great school, I can be the top of my class, I can get a high salary fresh out of school.
I hope you can as well. However, the statistics don't support this. So keep your costs low so that you have options later.