One of the earliest indications I got that new law grads were having increasing difficulty finding work was when a friend of mine graduated from Michigan in 2008 and couldn't find anything. He had middle of the class grades and it's fair to say he's somebody who went to law school in significant part because he got into a top school rather than because he had clear idea what he wanted to do, so in that sense his struggles were "his fault." (Of course I went to exactly the same law school for exactly the same reason, but for some mysterious reason baby boomers got away with this kind of thing much more often).
He spent nearly a year looking for a job, then finally found a three-year staff attorney position with a federal court. That ended this spring, and he spent several months before then looking unsuccessfully for other legal work.
Finally just after his job ended was offered a judicial clerkship of some kind on a U.S territory in the middle of the Pacific. He had gotten married in the interim so he and his wife have been improbably Polynesian for several months now. This is a one-year gig, so he's kept searching for a "permanent" job (of course for law school reporting purposes both of his post-graduation positions count as full-time long-term jobs requiring a law degree -- i.e., real legal jobs).
Yesterday he got word that he had been accepted into the JAG. He's thrilled: although the pay is relatively modest, and the job has the major disadvantage that he and his wife are certain to be uprooted and dropped down who knows where several times over the course of the next couple of decades (he'll have to hope for Aviano rather than Ft. Bragg), it's a real legal job with real benefits -- working for the military is in some ways the ultimate government gig. Plus he remains PSLF-eligible for his six-figure law school debt.
So he will have what figures to be an actual legal career. The daunting thing is that he had to spend four and a half years finding it -- and this saga features a middle of the class grad from a top ten school, who comes from the kind of upper middle class background that makes this sort of story economically feasible.
The other moral of the story is that this class of 2008 grad is taking what until very recently was thought of as an entry-level job -- i.e., one more job that the members of the class of 2012 (and 2011 and 2010 and 2009 . . .) won't get.
Nevertheless . . .