Appreciate your answer.
From what I've been reading lately, it seems like the legal hiring crisis extends beyond the current economic woes. Glut of grads due to increasing number of accredited institutions, legal markets growing much more slowly than the overall economy (for the last 20 yrs, so it doesn't have anything to do with current economocalypse). So I find it hard to be optimistic about the situation for grads even in three and a half years. Mebbe I'm just being a downer.
First summer, you will probably be working for free, and the demand for berkeley law students who will work for free is really high, so no worries there.
Can you explain further what you mean by "work for free" 1L summer? Does this mean interning somewhere? I understand that firms can't really touch volunteer work because it violates employment law. Did you mean logging in 40hrs a week of unpaid volunteer hours at Legal Aid or another nonprofit in the area? If so, are we talking making photocopies or something more substantial?
I've never been the Biglaw type, so its no longer being an option is not much of a concern for me. What I worry about though is the fallout from those evaporated jobs making it more difficult to get PI or state/local government jobs because of increased competition.
What I want is someone to tell me that I can graduate median from Boalt and not be stuck doing doc-review in a basement in San Leandro and worrying that I'm going to default on my payments for the sticker price I paid.
I don't need a hotshot Biglaw job upon graduation, but something over, say, 45K that actually has to do with practicing law is a must, and if I can't get that with a median rank from Boalt, I might decide to take the full ride at a T2 or even back out of going to ls.
Don't mean to imply that I won't be working hard by constantly saying I'll be middle-of-the-pack, but I'm trying to temper my expectations and to mitigate the famous tendency of 0Ls to overestimate their GPA potential...
Public Interest is far more concerned with what PI stuff you've done than grades.
Need this be pre- law school or are you talking extra-curriculars while in ls?
Once more, appreciate your insight.