I have seen many sites do this, and my personal experience with it has not been very successful.
If linking from the homepage you do get good exposure and typically the homepage will have the highest PR for a site to pass on link juice, but the more links you add the more diluted the link juice becomes to flow to these pages. It can be helpful to deep link to pages from the homepage that may not get a lot of exposure typically.
Long term though it is best to obtain external links to these pages. Also since they are in the footer of the page, Google may easily detect and ignore or filter them out.
I do not see any real downside to testing it.