One of my former professors, who is also an attorney, wrote a LOC for me. The other day, I sent him an e-mail just catching up and asking for advice, and he sent a response that (I thought) was full of valuable information. One of the things he wrote about was an analogy between summer associate positions and picks in sports drafts- I just thought I'd share for those interested.
Knowing a little bit now about how firms hire, at my old firm years ago, we'd always ask ourselves, for example, why someone from such and such a place would want to come settle in CITY X. If we couldn't figure out a reason, then we wouldn't bother to interview them. It's the same reason why teams have to think twice about trading away quality young players or draft picks for a player that they know they can't sign to come back for next year. The mega firms might have lots of clerkships, but the smaller firms just have one or two. We can't blow them on people who will work for a summer then seek permanent employment elsewhere. We'd really have to be in a must-win pennant race in terms of needing top-notch clerk work now to justify hiring a summer associate who was headed to different places later.
Maybe various people have already made this same comparison, but I thought it was a worthwhile insight from someone who would know what they were talking about. It underscores the importance of emphasizing why you want to work for a firm when going through the application process.