Yah, seriously. Every time I talk to a 2L I feel somewhat optimistic. Every time I talk to a 3L, I'm like wholy shit, gonna die!
3Ls did OCI when any turn-around was starting, but firms were waiting around to see if it would last.
We (2Ls) did it when things were looking pretty good and firm business was really picking up and they needed to respond a bit to overcorrections in downsizing. BigLaw bonuses this past year seem to bear this out - firms did really well.
I think firms may have anticipated continued improvement in the economy this past cycle. If the economy continues sideways for awhile, I would expect that firm hiring to slow a bit. I don't think OCI will be bad, but I would expect last years' results to be tempered a bit. in sum, I think current 1Ls will have it easier than 3Ls did but not as easy as 2Ls did.
All the things said earlier apply re: interviewing skills being able to compensate for grades where employers are not overly grade-sensitive. Bid wisely, leverage connections, go to regional programs, etc, etc. And keep expectations realistic: median will still have a pretty good shot at biglaw through OCI. But it may not happen for everyone, which I say because some of this is beyond the control of the job seeker, so don't get too down on yourself if you strike out. You will have to scramble to find other avenues to find employment.