thesealocust wrote:(1) I'm going to be a huge spoil sport and throw this out there: There is very limited directed / unique advice to be given with respect to chances or individual bidding strategies. Each firm hires hires a small number of grads (I think we top out at 10 or so summers at any given firm, but we send people to firms up and down the rankings and coast to coast to abroad). Outside of broad useful information (DC is hard, NYC is relatively easy, ties are important, work experience helps people outperform those who went straight through, do your research, focus on firm size and historical class size when possible - a lot of people don't look and waste bids on tiny firms) lots of people should be looking at largely identical bid lists. With 50 bids somebody looking at NYC with a 4.0 is just not going to be bidding THAT much differently than somebody with a 3.4. The former will likely have more luck and a few more firms to look at, but at the bidding stage there's only so much strategy you can throw at a process that gives everyone 50 bids and lets firm pre-select many of their interview slots.
So ask, and listen, but don't expect much beyond generic advice about researching firms and traps for the unwary.
(2) With respect to grades, they're probably the most important factor right now, but they are not dispositive. Some great GPAs will get in trouble and some mediocre or downright bad GPAs will pull through. Do your research, prepare for interviews, and maximize whatever situation you happen to find yourself in.
(3) I think it makes sense to participate in OGI even if you're interested in public service. A summer at a firm, especially with no aspirations of getting an offer, is an incredible experience one should try to experience if only for the hilarious social phenomenon that it is. Also, the firm hiring time line is MASSIVELY faster than the public interest time line, and the NALP guidelines let you hold one firm offer open while looking for PI. You have literally nothing to lose, and plenty of firms will be happy to pay you 3 grand per week, take you on lavish outings, cover travel expenses, and then give you piles and piles of pro bono work to do. Seriously, there is never ending amount of pro bono for firm summers to. Help people and get paid! Or hell, do the interviews to make sure your decision NOT to work at the firm is an informed one. A bunch of your tuition dollars go towards Dean Donovan's OGI Extravaganza, I say take part!
(4) CSO has some good reasons to worry about what people would do with firm data if they have it, but it's still seriously obnoxious. Make sure you at least call in; they're happy to provide advice over the phone.
Thanks to you and to vamedic for all this advice. You guys have convinced me to do OGI. I'm a bit concerned because my resume is totally public-service-oriented, but I guess that can be fixed. It's insanely great that NALP will let you hold a firm offer open while you look for PI. Seriously, thanks.
(haha dammit although I was going to take a certain amount of pleasure in being one of the only ones not having to wear a suit in August...oh, well.)