U.S. Legal Sector Loses Almost 3,000 Jobs in February

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the U.S. legal sector lost 2,900 jobs in February.  Its estimate is subject to revision, and those revisions are sometimes significant.  And February is often a slow time for U.S. legal hiring, so the data aren’t catastrophic.

But they are worrisome.  First, 2,900 is a lot of jobs.  Second, this loss is countercyclical, i.e., during the same period the economy added 192,000 jobs (the private sector added 222,000), reducing overall national unemployment below 9% for the first time in almost two years.

Moreover, most jobs don’t require qualifications that require their applicants to carry the heavy educational debt load that lawyers generally have.  It’s reasonable to hope that positive signs for the stream of legal business over the last few months would begin to show in employment numbers.  As productivity for existing lawyers rises, it’s sensible to expect increased legal hiring.  That hasn’t happened yet, though the practicing lawyers I talk with regularly are telling me that they’re just about maxed out.

Who should worry about these numbers?  They’re obviously of great concern for current lawyers and the law school classes of 2011, and of lesser concern as the time horizon extends.  For longer time horizons, these numbers simply indicate that law is not an employment safe haven.  That’s something anyone thinking about or in law school should already know and have factored into their decision to attend law school generally and in making their decision between law schools.  The estimated February numbers should bring into sharper relief the need to make those calculations and the financial risk of law school education.

~ by Kyle Pasewark at Advise-in Solutions on March 5, 2011.

3 Responses to “U.S. Legal Sector Loses Almost 3,000 Jobs in February”

  1. […] there’s the fact that, um, we went through and officially came out of a recession—and legal employment continues to suffer (see the “Beyond Law School” posts on this blog)—accompanied by virtual silence from the ABA […]

  2. […] course, there have been months over the past year when the legal sector has added jobs, and February’s estimated loss of 2,900 jobs was revised by the BLS to a net loss of 2,000 jobs.  That isn’t terribly […]

  3. […] there’s the fact that, um, we went through and officially came out of a recession—and legal employment continues to suffer (see the “Beyond Law School” posts on this blog)—accompanied by virtual silence from the ABA […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: