Well, this post is going to be anticlimactic. Cade had PM's in response to my earlier post in this thread about me knowing a decent chunk of 1L's who got biglaw summer clerkships. So here's my response:
I didn't do a biglaw summer clerkship. (So take my advice about landing one with a grain of salt.) I wanted to do a judicial internship for my 1L summer and I waited to apply to those spots right after finals. I had the grades to try and apply for 1L biglaw SA spots, but I didn't even try because 1) I wanted to do a judicial internship more, 2) I didn't care too much about the money (though I don't think I fully took into consideration how much money it would actually be), and 3) I thought it would be a waste of time because I had heard they were so incredibly rare (after I started seeing a decent amount of classmates get one, I started to realize that while they might be somewhat rare, they are definitely attainable).
Splitting my summer between a judicial internship and as biglaw 1L summer SA actually seemed like a dream scenario, but the timing for that was off since 1) I didn't apply early for biglaw and 2) I had two interviews not too long after sending my judicial internship apps out and I said yes to both and split my summer between two judicial internships.
Do I regret not applying to firms for 1L summer? No, because I am very happy with how 2L OCI worked out for me. My answer might be different though if things went differently. And it was definitely more stressful to not have a safety net. I know some people who only applied to 4-5 firms because they were really happy with their 1L summer firm and had an offer to come back before 2L OCI screening interviews actually started happening.
With all that said, my advice to those wanting to get 1L summer biglaw job:
-Send your apps out on December 1st. I know some people who did this with alright grades and ended up with a biglaw summer SA. People were already scheduling screening interviews before finals were over.
-Talk to your CSO and use NALP to figure out which firms to apply to.
-Personalize your cover letters to each firm, even if it's only a sentence or two different.
-If you are from the city your applying to (have a house there, parent's live there, etc)--use that address as your permanent address (along with your current address) on your heading of your resume and cover letter.
-Go talk to your CSO (when Nov. 1st hits) and have them look over your resume and general cover letter.
This is all pretty generic info, though I'm not sure there is any special trick you have to do. If your from Texas, I think that makes it easier since I think Texas was hiring more 1L's than most other parts of the country. That's just a guess on my part though.
If anyone who actually did do a 1L biglaw summer SA wants to step in and give more specific advice, have at it.