Underemployedlawyer, thank you for your encouraging remark. It has prompted me see the LL.M. Program from a new standpoint i had no idea existed. However, i don't think that it is healthy to even consider that you can be amongst the top 10 students at a top 10 or 20 law school, since the competition is very fierce and you'll most probably wind up terribly disappointed even since the very beginning of the classes. You should just expect to do a good job and everything within your grip while in school and, also, envision yourself in a less ambitious job setting. That attitude could keep you from ending up miserable and contrite.
Well, those in the top 10 (or top 10%) did contemplate it in most cases, and worked hard to get there. The worst that can happen when you put in that much effort is that you end up in the top 20 or 30%. Which is still good if one is at a top tier school. I've nevr been miserable when I've put in "effort" - which is rewarding in itself. I have been miserable when I've blown off an entire semester and gotten crap grades. Interestingly, my lowest credit semester (9 credits) was my worst, about a 2.9 GPA overall (bottom 1/4 for my school!), but my highest credit semester (20 credits) was 3.64 (top 10%)!