I know it is extremely difficult to get a 1L summer job at a big firm. That taken into account, how well would I have to do at UT my first semester to have a shot at this type of job? Thx.
dont know how well for UT specifically, but I have friends at my T25 that got big law jobs their first summer. My IP friends virtually all got IP jobs at big firms their first summers without problems and they ranged from top 50% to top 15%. Of my friends that are not IP, only two got big law jobs. One had a 4.0 his first semester, and the other was top 15% (probably closer to top 5-10%) and that guy had to go to a smaller market to find employment.
Outside the T14, its pretty difficult. I know Texas is just outside, but I would venture to say that it would be similarly difficult to find a job. That said, the most you could possibly spend is 30 dollars on stamps, so why not apply?
Something to consider is that firms often give special treatment your second year if you applied your first. I had one that didnt even interview me first year tell me I could skip screening interviews second year. The friends of mine that got interviews their first year were often given the opportunity to skip screening interviews second year. This is great because it virtually guarantees a big firm job your second summer.