Competition and demand for law firm associates is surging now. But new data released Wednesday by the National Association for Law Placement reveals that 2020 saw the largest plunge in lateral hiring since the Great Recession, with associates taking the biggest hit.

The new figures offer some explanation for the hiring frenzy and competition for young talent this year, as firms may be catching up from the stagnant hiring in 2020 as they see an increase in deal work.