I guess my question is whether anybody felt as though there were so many interns that teaching/supervision and quality of assignments suffered when they interned at the appellate levels?
I don't think teaching/supervision or quality of assignments suffered when I interned for appellate judges. Both aspects were different, but not necessarily worse in either system.
Regarding teaching/supervision, bear in mind that the appellate judge is more likely to have (or more likely to have more
) clerks. So you might have less direct contact with the judge, but you will have (or have more) contact with clerks. I did not view this as a negative trade-off. The clerks are great people and typically very smart and good mentors. The judges were also happy to meet with their interns. There was, though, less day-to-day contact with the judges.
Regarding quality of assignments, I had more shorter assignments at the trial level and fewer longer assignments at the appellate level. While working for one appellate judge, I spent nearly five weeks writing one memorandum and a related opinion (and the opinion was still, admittedly, pretty bad). The amount of research is also more extensive, IMO, at the highest state appellate court because you are bound by less precedent. Thus, you can look to more persuasive precedent from any source (i.e., any judicial opinion in your state, outside your state, in the federal system, whatever). If you work for a state trial judge, you're going to probably only research decisions by the state appellate courts in your state (except on federal constitutional issues). You will probably have more time to complete assignments at the state supreme court, so you can do more research and refine your writing more. But you may be exposed to a smaller variety of issues.
Of course, keep in mind that anything I've said above could vary from judge to judge. These were my experiences but maybe shouldn't be taken as broad generalizations applicable to your situation.
Also, I am very happy to hear that the prestige factor (in terms of court level) was not relevant during OCI.
I wouldn't say it's wholly irrelevant--just not very relevant.