I attend a regional school. It's around a Tier 3 to Tier 4. The job market has been brutal for most new graduates. While I am not a grad, I can offer advice about the OCI prospects.
The struggle is obvious in a down economy and overly-saturated labor market: getting your foot in the door. A lot of firms will not even consider you because of your school or their grade requirements will be much more stringent. Many firms require top 50% for Tier 1; top 25 % for Tier 2, and then top 15% for Tier 3 & 4 (In reality, it will more likely be top ten students) to be considered for a summer job.
Here is a list of 5 important things that I believe will tip (and did for me) the job hunting scales in your favor (besides grades, do I need to even stress the importance of grades?)I have listed them in order of importance. People may disagree, but this is just my opinion:
1) Working Connections - Do some legal work before school in an area of personal interest prior to coming to school. If you want to work in a big firm, try to get an entry position in a big firm and do a darn good job. Go to work early and stay late. I knew about the market and took a year off and worked at a firm to make sure it was something I wanted to do. Not only was it great experience, this entry-level position turned into a job as a summer associate for the upcoming summer.
2) LAW REVIEW!!!!!! - Cannot stress this one enough. Pretty much a prerequisite (if no connections) to landing a job during the summer or immediately upon graduation. While I do not put it above working connections, it is very important.
3) Research Assistantship - If you have the opportunity, do it! I do mine with the University's legal counsel and it has helped out tremendously. Not only does it pay tuition , these professors / attorneys know people in your legal community and want you to succeed and will make phone calls and send emails on your behalf.
4) Student Organization involvement - Get involved. Do Student Bar Association or some equivalent. Not only will this help you network, it reflects leadership skills and a proactive nature. Also, make sure it is something you want to do and not specifically a resume booster. It will be apparent during interviews if you have no personal stake in the org.
5) Volunteer your 1L summer- A summer job is pretty much off the table unless you know somebody; however, there are tons of opportunities to volunteer in your legal community. I worked for my City's DA office while I took a summer course. You can also work at your Area Legal Services or the Public Defenders office. Do something; don't just sit around.