Thanks for the advice and encouraging words... sometimes this board amps my anxiety level!
I wouldn't count out the 1L firm job. There are lots of firms that don't pay $3k/wk but that do pay $1100, 1200, 1400, 1600, 1800.... I'm working at one firm paying $2k/wk, and I'm with one T50 student, one T2 student, one T3 student and a student at a new law school. All are very personable and friendly. The other firm I'm working primarily hires T14 students, with a few of the top students from the local T50. QuoteDon't worry so much this far in advance. You shouldn't even be thinking about it now. You can prepare for the 1L job search now by FINDING those firms, researching them, editing and preparing cover letters and inserting the firm information, preparing the e-mails to send to each firm, etc. You can't send them out until December 1, but that will be exam time. I know a lot of people put off the job search for exams, and I think they were at a disadvantage. I started in September/October, but it would have been nice to have the bulk of this done before school. You will never have more time than you have right now. Many people interview in December or January. Some have offers before grades come out. But it's also nice to be able to e-mail them when your grades come out and basically say "I first contacted you on December 2.... I remain interested in your firm; here are my grades."
Don't worry so much this far in advance. You shouldn't even be thinking about it now.