We know BigLaw firm hiring is depressed. And it will stay depressed. What we know is now confirmed by an academic study - What's New About the New Normal: the Evolving Market for New Lawyers in the 21st Century, by University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill Professor Bernard A. Burk.
Burk tells us, "Though BigLaw hiring has historically accounted for only 10%-20% of each graduating class, it is responsible for over half the entry-level Law Jobs lost since 2008."
Burk also says:
While some observers predict a return to business as usual as the economy recovers, this article is skeptical of that account. The article identifies significant structural changes in the way that the services traditionally provided by BigLaw are being produced, staffed and priced that diminish BigLaw’s need for junior lawyers both immediately and in the longer term. These observations suggest that entry-level BigLaw hiring, and thus the market for new lawyers overall, will remain depressed below pre-recession levels well after demand for the services BigLaw has traditionally provided recovers. At the same time, new lawyers’ job prospects may nevertheless improve as the contraction in the legal academy now underway reduces the number of new graduates competing for work.