I'll add some words of my own here by saying that this was a huge blessing for both of us. Most large firms only hire 1-3 1st year law students (1Ls) a year (hundreds apply and dozens are interviewed from the top schools in the country). When I interviewed with Irell they told me that the main reason they hired a couple 1Ls was because they acted as advertisers for the class which will interview for summer jobs at the beginning of their 2nd year. The emphasis is definitely on 2nd year law students, with most large firms having programs with around 20-40 2Ls. I had already been rejected from nearly every other firm I had applied to, in part because I waited too long to apply. I was initially going to go for an internship with a judge, which is very prestigious (although it doesn't pay anything), but the time to apply was right during finals and I decided I was too lazy to try and deal with it in the middle of that crazy time. I ended up getting a lucky interview with Irell only after someone else fell through for them. If this hadn't worked out I was going to interview for a research assistant job at the UCLA library this summer, which would have been fine too, although the pay would have been substantially less.
The reason why I like Irell so much, apart from their great location, is in large part their very interesting client list, which includes many people and organizations I and most of you have probably heard of. A list of recent notable activity at their firm is very impressive: Recent Matters
They are one of the top IP firms in the country with a large emphasis on entertainment law as well.
Most of the lawyers I interviewed with (I had to interview with 6) were fairly young "married with children" types who genuinely seemed to like their job. It was encouraging for someone like me who is still somewhat convinced it is impossible to strike a decent work/family balance a a large firm like Irell. They assured me that such was not the case. Erica and I are looking forward to this summer and we will keep you posted on how things go down in the coming months.