How important are these receptions?
Very important, here's why -Think of it like dating; everyone there is looking for a partner to make a commitment to. At these receptions you have the opportunity to stand out, to make a great first impression, and meet the people who will be looking at your resume. If you are not a top student or don't have as impressive a resume as your peers, this is your shot to get in. A good conversation with a recruiter can help them overlook your less than stellar grades, or your display of wit can help them forgive your lack of experience in their field of law.
This is also your opportunity to interview them. Are these people you want to spend time with? Do you fit into their culture? If you donít look out for yourself in the hiring process, no one else will.
Your right, it may be dangerous for some, especially if you have no social skills but have a killer resume. But how far is this going to get you anyway? You may land an internship or job, but within 6 months you'll realize the match is a bad fit for both of you and youíll either be fired or worse continue on and hate your job.
As for taking your wife Ė unless she is in the same school and was invited, no. You want to focus on the job at hand, and make no mistake, this is work. You should know who is going to be there, information about the firms you are interested in, and get a list of names from career services so you can look out for them.