solotee wrote:Sorry for the bad news. I'm sure you're in more of a competitive position than most to get something going forward. Good luck!
Yes, they are both infinitely better off having done an SA and getting the firm name on their resume. Did either firm say if they would soft-offer you on a reference? Did you have strong contacts there who would go to bat for you as references? My advice would be to get on OSCAR now and apply for every clerkship listed. All 400 of them. Right now you're in a sweet spot where judges are going to look favorably on you the first week of September and you don't have to explain why you didn't go back to your firm. Second week of September should be dedicated to applying to all the government honors programs, even the non-legal ones like PMF and Pathways. The agency I'm interning at this semester just hired three entry-level lawyers not through an honors program, so consider calling nearby agencies that you have a plausible story for.
As to why a bunch of people on this thread got no-offered, there are no statistics yet, but I have a narrative from what I saw in my own SA. Pre-ITE, firms would hire 100 associates, knowing that 70-80 would leave in the first year or two because they weren't really firm material. Only 20-30 could cut it as senior associates doing the hard legal drafting and analysis. When the economy went south, firms downsized their classes to maybe 30 summers and raised their GPA/USNWR standards, but weren't thinking long-term. Now that we're four years into this economy, firms are realizing that clients will never pay for crappy first years again and that they don't have enough senior associates to do the actual work. Only 6-9 of the reduced classes of 20-30 are able to do the higher level analysis. Now firms are using the summer programs to try and identify people who aren't just good first year lawyers, but can already do some of the higher level functions senior associates do. It's not just whether they can spot the issue and turn in good work-product on-time, it's whether the firm is sure they can pound out a perfect brief in a 16 hour adderall-induced mania. What this means is that the traditional wisdom on TLS and from CSOs is less applicable.