All I can tell you is my own personal impressions. Most people at my school (top 25) tend to discount study abroad programs as a valid option for summer (for the regular school year too, for that matter). But I'm interested in some form of international career working with Latin American business developments. I've spent time in Mexico and some Central American countries, but I've never been to South America. Obviously, I'd love to get a paid summer position as a 1L, but if I don't, I'd rather spend the summer at a study abroad in Argentina or Chile than working for free in Legal Aid. I'll have to take loans either way.
All that to say that you should do whatever you feel like gives you the greatest range of opportunities. Spending the summer abroad just so you can get a few course credits while you chill on the beach is probably not the best use of your time or money. But if you'll be able to articulate to a future employer how your time abroad enhanced your marketability, then I think you'll be fine.
Of course, I haven't done it yet, so this is just my philosophy behind why I might do it. I don't have any experience with how it actually plays out in later interviews.