I can understand where you are coming from, but eventually, the resume and cover letters will need to be sent out, regardless of when that may be. How could it not be beneficial to get a list (that can always be added to and altered as interests become clearer), so that there is that much less that you have to do when the time comes to start the job search? It's something you can do at home while watching tv or at work when you're board, but will save you lots of time in the end.
In response to Bluff, I kinda started this already in an excel spreadsheet, and I also included a column for firms that have current Alumni from my schools (undergrad and law school) and the areas of practice. This way when the time comes, I can have cover letters that can make a connection with a memeber of the firm, and if I decide after taking a certain class that the area that a firm specializes in is not for me, I can simply erase all firms that specialize in that area.
Excellent points. Lists can always be modified and modifications will certainly take less time than starting from zero two weeks before December 1.
Grades do play a role, but not as much as people think. Obviously, firms are not willing to hire people who barely pass, but if your grades are reasonably good you are not out of the running. For 1L positions, firms look for experience in other fields - perhaps technical fields that relate to their practice areas - because after the first year students simply don't have enough knowledge to be very valuable in terms of purely legal tasks. I have seen a classmate of mine with a patent/biochem background get a 1L job at a top Bay Area firm having made all Passes during the first semester. The quality of the school will also play a role. All Passes from Yale may trump all B's from East Podunk School of Law.