You may get a courtesy interview. Most partners won't vouch for you, though, unless you're at least vaguely close to what they'd usually hire. A firm that takes top 10% from T14 schools isn't going to seriously look at you if you're top 50% at T2 just because you know someone. And if the people you know are relatives, chances are that there's some sort of nepotism rule.
At this point, I'd set up informational interviews with the partners you know, tell them your situation, and ask them for general advice.
I disagree with some of this. But first its going to depend on how well these people know you, just knowing of you or your parents is not enough. If its someone you have met through networking and developed a relationship with over many months, maybe worked on some projects with, then they can better judge your capabilities. These are more likely to result in pull you in positions where the partner personally vouches for you and the firms hires you based on his/her recommendation, bypassing the usual summer in methoed, usually to work directly under them.
I also disagree somewhat with YBRís idea that you canít get a job with a firm that does not normally hire from your school. You canít get a job OCI wise, thatís for sure, but you can be brought in by a partner to work under them. Its happened to me twice at firms that donít not even give my school a courtesy nod in OCI.
There is one big caveat here, at least from what I have seen. I think this method has worked so well for me precisely because I have focused only on one practice area. The majority of my classes, my clinical work, my journal work, my publications, my internships/clerkships and advanced degree have all focused almost exclusively on environmental law. So its been an easier sell to people I have networked with in environmental law that I am a better candidate for an environmental practice area than a generalist student from a better school. However, its also meant I have had to network, since OCI offers little choices for someone who has so specialized in one practice area. So itís a double edged sword.
I could see this working in other specialized practice area like Tax or Admiralty, but more generalist law students donít really have much to offer most firms, so you run up against the better generalist from a better school is the better pick issue YBR describes. The key to getting handpicked is offering something lots of other folks donít have, trying to set yourself apart from the crowd (and LR or moot court board is not enough that IS the crowd), that takes focusing your resume, school activities, internships your whole package, into a specific practice area, at least thatísí what seems to have worked for me.
Interesting...looks like you're an advocate of carving out a niche for yourself.