As a side note, I worked for a smaller firm as a 1L summer in a medium sized city for an hourly wage. I don't recall what it is but they didn't even want us to work past 5 because they only wanted us working/paid 9 to 5. Maybe it was like 15 dollars an hour (maybe less!), but at least I was paid and I got some great experience - drafting summary judgement motions and memoranda, getting to accompany the lawyers to court, observing depositions, etc., and I made some good contacts who served as references the next summer. I came out in a bad legal market as well, so I understand the difficulties. But, I would rather see you with a paying job of some type (or interning for free at at place where that is more common) than groveling at BIGLAW. Happy to hear any different views, but as I said, I haven't heard firms jumping on this "free summer associate" train. It may be because it costs to run a summer program anyway, even without the fancy events.
Double posting today, I guess I had a lot to say.
BTW, I'd be curious to hear any stories about 3L offers rescinded - hence the poll. Our incoming associates are still expected to join but I wonder about what you are hearing (something different from abovethelaw.com, of course, since I read that).
And to my Latham friends: good luck, friends.