I don't need to know about legal hiring, I know how hiring in general works. There are law firms that need help doing "crap work" throughout the entire year. These firms might advertise through your school, on the web, or through a temp agency...this could be with a mega firm or a small one. There are also law clerk positions. If you get this on your resume, then recruiters will see that "brand name" or whateva and select you for an interview.
There is also the "hidden market." You create this in-large-part through your own initiative. Contacting Partners at firms seeing if you can help out for free whether it's 5 hours a week or 15 hours a week. Many will say, "hell no," some will say, "hell yes." By doing all of this you're creating/strenthgening your credentials. Getting something to put on the resume IF/WHEN you do not succeed at the formalized summer internships....this is setting you up for the full-time job interviews or 2L summer positions...
I never said ANY of these things will get you a full-time job. I'm replying to the guy who said he's scared that he has nothing to bring to the table and didn't go to any ivy league undergrad. Again, the hiring manager mostly won't care about any of that once you are interviewing. They will care that you can do the work, that you're a fit, etc. I'm assuming the law student from the medicore undergrad HAS the grades to compete with the ivy league undergrad and interesting graduate degrees. Once you're in the interview room, you can almost throw everything out the window. It's about how you deliver, connect with the interviewer, etc. Yes, they might hire the person because they have financial securities experience for a summer position at XYZ, but this alone will never put them over the top.
Corporate America (especially on campus interviewing) is a game. It is very formalized. They ask the same interview questions, etc. Recruiters will select resumes without knowing anything about the position. They just see: 3.6, rank: 3 out of 300, Baker Bottts, Latham & Watkins, blah, blah, blah. You can spend four weeks working for Baker Botts (or whatever) and then you put that on your resume. Date: Winter 2010....Or what have you. Recruiters will see that you worked for a competitor or have legal experience (you can do this at a clinic too). Or you can get a law clerk job at Weltiman, Weinberg & Reis. Is this Baker Botts? NO. But will the Baker Botts recruiter see you did bankruptcy work for this firm? YES. Will they select you for an interview after seeing this, "yes, possibly." This is "playing to the game."
Everything I said about working for free is true and possible. I NEVER said it was EASY and sure as hell never said it'll get you a full-time job or an internship, but if you are concerned with not having the credentials, then it's a strategy you might want to try, especially if you want to land a 1L internship or if you failed at that, then trying to get the 2L or full-time job position.
You can laugh all you want and continue to bring up my LSAT score. I'm certain you never emailed a partner at a law firm (or municipality) and asked if they would consider you for freelance work or when their office is swamped. That's fine. My advice isn't for people who want to rely on the old-fashion standards, it's for people who are capable of thinking "outside the box" and want to play the game so they can win.