For full time students, i'm told first year should be no-work time. I was a part-time student (average of 12 credits per semester). I worked a full time professional job and went to school at night. If you are very committed to a part time program, it is possible! And as for what schools firms hire from: don't fall prey to the idea you must go to a Tier 1 to get a job. A lot depends on market factors. I went to a Tier 3 as a part time student, and had offers from 3 large firms in our market (cleveland). something around 96 percent of our grads were employed within 6 months of graduation.
I also know several full time students who after their first year took part-time work as law clerks or research assistants/tutors etc. I wouldn't suggest taking a serving job to earn money, but the clerking experience is so valuable to your training as a lawyer, not to mention it leads to jobs, that I think it is worth the extra hours of work required on your part. Anything is possible if you put the effort in. Good luck!