Law graduates of the class of 2007 and 2008 were hit so hard by the Global Financial Crisis that one recruiter has predicted a significant gap in the legal talent market may emerge in the future.
According to Elvira Naiman, a founder of legal recruiter, Naiman Clarke, graduates and young lawyers were often the first to go - or be denied employment in the first place - when law firms were forced to shed costs in line with the slowdown in legal work over the last 18 months.
Such tough economic conditions burdened numerous young professionals with the reality that earning a law degree, even with impeccable grades, was not the guaranteed key to employment in the legal industry that it once was.
"We've seen so many grads and one and two year lawyers," said Naiman, "some with unbelievable academic results and great training, who are completely out of work, and out of work long-term."
The problem, added Naiman, is that out-of-work graduates are now joining the graduates of 2009 and soon 2010 in saturating the market with an oversupply of junior legal talent. She believes this clash will result in some graduates falling through the cracks, while also crafting a long-term structural hole in the market where law firms have lost of generation of new recruits.
"The graduates of 2008 - those that didn't get a graduate role or couldn't stay in graduate roles - may, to some extent, fall through a hole because while technically they might be at a certain level post-qualified ... a lot of them haven't had the experience because they have been out of work."
The reality facing graduates of 2007 and 2008 is in stark contrast to that which faced the graduating classes just a couple of years before them - when the market was booming. And, according to Naiman, such changes in the market are likely to hit both legal employers and young lawyers in the future.
"There will be in three to four years, I think, a structural hole in the market where we've lost a bunch of recruits at a particular level," she said.