Dr. Filth wrote: [G]o . . . to law firm events. It helps to develop your schtick that you will eventually pass along at OCI. Knowing how to talk to those people is a huge plus.
+1000. This is one of the HUGE reason to go to networking events. Developing and testing how you will present yourself *before* OCI. What is sparking conversations? What's leading to awkward moments? What gets lawyers excited to talk about their jobs? What questions make them change the subject? Even if you're already good in this sort of setting, I promise it still helps, and when you're one of 50 people in the top 25% of your class competing for a relatively small # of callbacks at Kirkland or Sidley, little edges will matter.
Another benefit of networking that I think gets undersold is learning how firms like to talk about themselves. Even if most large law firms are arguably more or less the same, they all see themselves and talk about themselves in different ways in different language. You want to understand those different languages and self-perception so you can hit the right notes in an interview and seem like a girl who really "gets it" or would be a "great fit" for the oh-so-special-and-unique way that firm does business. By far the best way to learn to speak the language is to go meet with lawyers and get them talking.
Can networking get you connections? Sure, but I think that's probably the least of its benefits. Interviewing and interacting with large firm lawyers is a LEARNED SKILL, and like any other skill the only way to master it is practice. For the approximately 90% of you where being a good fit and a good interview will determine whether or not you get the job, It's absolutely critical that you get that practice.