LegalJob gave this advice last night as part of career panel speaking to GW law students. If working at a firm is something you are interested in, it will be helpful for you to demonstrate focus and commitment as early as possible. Your focus will serve as another item to separate you from the pack. This advice is a bit counterintuitive considering that many people choose law school because they are not sure what they want to do when they grow up and law school is a nice, expensive way of postponing the decision for three years. Well, times have changed. Firm jobs are more competitive so if that is a track you are interested in, it will be helpful to plan ahead.
Pick a specialty and if possible a sub-specialty within that area of the law. Then take as many classes as possible in that area (in your second and third year), seek out professors as mentors, talk to alumni working in the field, participate in a clinic in the area, and make sure to develop work experience in the areas (either summer or perhaps during school). Do not waste valuable time working as a bar tender or another job that is not legal related. These steps will also help you solidify your interest or you may decide it is not for you. These steps will also help you develop your elevator speech which will be useful down the road.
LegalJob will post more on this topic later.