How to maximize your bid list.
NYC/LA/Chicago/SF pick at most one of these cities. These firms all go in the top 12, MAYBE top 15 bids. You get them fairly reliably until spot 10, and sporadically until 15. You just can't cover more than one, and if you try, you won't cover either. So don't even bother bidding an unselective firm from these after 15.
Very selective (non chicago) firms go later. If you don't have a decent shot at these, you can bid them after spot 15 and before spot 25ish and probably get them.
If you want to interview at the chicago offices of Kirkland, Sidely, or Mayer Brown, you better bid them 1,2,3. These firms are exceptions to the "more selective, less competitive" rule.
DC firms last a little longer in bidding. You'll get them reliably until 20, and sporadically until 25.
Texas and Minnesota last fairly long in bidding, into the 40's but did eventually fill up. I assume this goes for other fairly significant, but still not primary markets too. If you are looking to end up at these places, you may want to bid them early just to be safe. If you want to use them as back up, you can probably put them after 25 on your bid list and still get them.
Other small markets fill up late or never fill.
IP firms fill up in the late 40s, or never do. I got every single one after I listed them 30-37.
Don't insinuate that a named partner is effeminate/gay because of his shirt color and, therefore, weak.
So your bid list should look like:
1-15 : your primary market with the less selective firms first and the more selective later. Firms with a small amount of interview spots first, firms with large number of spots later.
15-20: Very selective firms that decent number of interviews should go here. Place like DPW, Cravath, Irell. Places like Skadden and Weil should go closer to 15, maybe below. I got Weil at 12 but missed Skadden at 22. Got DPW at 30, and heard Cravath went into late 30s.
15-25 can also be used to target a secondary market. DC firms are somewhat attainable up until 25. If you are going to do NY+DC or Chicago and Boston, or LA and DC, I'd do the primary market to 15, then the secondary from 15-20.
25+ Use this to get "just in case" markets that you have some sort of connection (or can stretch one). If you are IP, put them 25+. If you are from Texas but don't wanna go back? Put them 25+. Your husband was born and raised in St. Paul? Bid Minnesota 25+. If you have less than a 3.6, you might want to put Cravath, Sulcrom, DPW here.
Don't bid on shit you have no connections to. The interivews are awfully awkward and you end up wasting prep time that you could use for other interviews.