Well, the fact is that you are currently unemployed and looking for a job. I wouldn't shy away from the question if it came up. It certainly will in your next interview. Besides, why are you focusing on networking right now instead of reaching out to firms directly? It doesn't hurt you but this seems to be more immediate than any potential networking opportunity that could come up.
Yeah i certainly agree with you, and maybe the principal had to demonstrate that they couldn't afford to pay me anymore, but unfortunately there isn't any way for me to know/have access to that information if the principal wasn't willing to offer it. Despite being a litigation lawyer, my principal hates, as is awkward around, direct confrontation and for whatever reason she didn't want to offer information one way or another. I'm just trying to find a way forward despite what's happened to me, and have in particular been having difficulty networking as a nonlawyer, because inevitably my unemployment status comes up and then any lawyer i'm meeting feels like the only reason i'm talking to them is because I want a job so its hard to create the rapport that would actually result in a job.