These numbers prompt a delicate question: is the broader legal market in a tailspin? “I don’t think so,” says Carrie Heller, president of The Heller Group, a legal recruitment agency in Toronto. “There are still big deals happening in the corporate world and firms are busy. So the market is not weak. But it is changing.”

Take document review and due diligence: a mere 10 years ago, such tasks were mainstays of a rookie lawyer’s job description. No longer. More and more firms, says Heller, now outsource that work to contract lawyers who cost far less than associates. So firms may be just as busy as they were last year, but they can do the same amount of work with a shallower pool of juniors.