Sure, they are a tragedy to those affected but likely not a surprise. As on Wall Street, that tap on the shoulder is expected. It's only a matter of when. As the saying goes, we are all on assignment, all temp workers.
Maybe elite law schools still frame those three years as the platform for a career. But law students I have spoken with enrolled below T-14 get the message that they have to hustle from opportunity to opportunity.
For instance, a U.S. Postal employee who attends an east coast law school at night is taking the electives which will allow him to identify those opportunities. With all the turbulence at the Postal Service, he recognizes that the shot he has leveraging his law degree there could totally vanish.
The temporary nature of employment in the legal sector mirrors that in journalism, college teaching and tech startups. Security only exists as an inside job. Professionals have to believe that they can keep finding ways to bring in income.