OK, so splitting is out. But let's say you have a choice between a law firm and a DA's office. In that case, there are arguments either way. If you think you'd like to do criminal law or government work sometime in the future, then the DA's office is a good chance to check it out and get it on your resume for a time when you'd want to do it later. Firms hiring 2L summer associates aren't going to think less of you just because you chose that instead of a big law firm. Going with a firm can be good, though. I know three people who benefited from having a 1L summer at a firm. The first really enjoyed her 1L summer and hated her 2L summer, so she accepted a permanent offer from her 1L employer. The second got pregnant during her 2L year and went back to her 1L firm for the 2L summer, so it was good to go back to a place where she already knew the ropes and had already done some good work. The third person got no offers for a 2L summer associateship, so she spent her 2L summer back at her 1L firm. Going to a firm during the 1L summer isn't necessary, but it can be beneficial.