in any event, firms are cracking down on hiring. Many firms will not have a 2009 summer class or will significantly reduce the class and the program. I predict there will be many "no offers" even for decent performers because firms will be afraid about bringing new hires on. Fall 2009 recruiting will be a slow season. We will return to a time when only the stars are on relatively easy street. If you are beyond, say, 25% in your class at a top 11-33 law school, it is going to be difficult. This means that 2010 summer classes will be small. I really don't see a pickup until after 2011. Sorry for any depressing news here, but firms are definitely pulling back on new hires especially.
My friend, a headhunter, reports that associate lateral hiring is basically flat. There are some specialists getting hired, but he has more or less moved his whole practice to lateral partners. Partners with business are still able to move and he is moving plenty of them.