While the legal sector lost 1,100 jobs in November, the revised number of jobs lost in October was downgraded from 900 to 400. And the total number of legal sector employment remains 2,500 higher than it did at this time last year.
November marks the second straight month of job loss in the legal sector, according to seasonally adjusted preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The loss of 1,500 jobs over the last two months follows a three-month gain of 4,000 jobs, according to revised data.
The BLS puts the net job gain within the legal sector at 3,000 for a total of 1.128 million people currently employed in the legal services sector. That’s 2,500 more jobs than in November 2012.
Overall employment in the professional and business services category, under which legal services is included, increased by 35,000 jobs last month. And the unemployment rate within that category decreased from 7.9 percent in November 2012 to 7.5 percent last month.
Meanwhile, the total U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs in November, decreasing the unemployment rate from 7.3 percent to 7 percent, which is a five-year low.
The legal sector added jobs once again, this time up 1,100 jobs last month, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was the third straight month of legal job gains, despite a number of support staff-centered layoffs in U.S. law firms.
The increase brings the total number of people employed in the legal sector to 1.13 million, which is 6,600 more jobs than September 2012’s total.
“Tuesday’s BLS report also included revised hiring data for August showing that the legal industry added 3,100 positions that month, up from the 2,700 the agency initially estimated,” Sara Randazzo reports for The Am Law Daily. “Overall, the BLS reports, through the first three quarters there were more people employed in the legal sector than at any point since 2009.”
Meanwhile, the overall U.S. economy added 148,000 nonfarm jobs in September, for an essentially unchanged unemployment rate of 7.2 percent.
Legal sector jobs increased in August, with the second-highest increase in the past 12 months possibly signalling better times ahead for law firms.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal services sector has added 6,300 jobs over the last 12 months. That’s an average gain of about 500 jobs a month—but there was a 2,700 jump in jobs in August. Some believe this may signal an “opening up” of the sector, attributed to a turn for the better in the economy.
The August gain was the second-highest gain in the last year, with 2,800 jobs added in July. The two months of gains were not enough to offset the sector’s losses since the recession hit, and is still 50,000 jobs shy of the pre-recession May 2007 high of 1,180,000 jobs.
Overall, however, the U.S. economy added 169,000 jobs, though the unemployment rate remained the same at 7.3 percent.
The job market for recent grads appears stagnant, which might explain why half of prelaw students don’t plan on seeking legal jobs once they graduate. But if you do want a law job, it matters where you go to school.
- The employment rate of recent grads might be disappointing, but at least it’s consistent. Data from the American Bar Association shows that for 2012, 82 percent of graduates were employed nine months after graduation—the same percentage as in 2011. And 56 percent of the 2012 grads got a job that required bar passage, which was only 1 percent higher than last year.
- Greedy Associates think Washington, D.C., is a great place to find a legal job—even though one in 12 residents are lawyers (versus 1:260 nationwide). Among the five reasons D.C. is tops are that it’s “Hollywood for ugly people” and thanks to all the free food at the seemingly endless receptions, you may never have to buy groceries again.
- Given the stark reality of the legal job market, it’s not much of a surprise that only half of surveyed prelaw students plan to use their law degrees in the legal profession. That’s according to a recent survey by Kaplan Test Prep. Of the 200 prelaw students surveyed, 43 percent plan to use their law degrees in the business world.
It’s no secret that the legal market remains unstable, despite modest gains last year. It is therefore even more important that attorneys actively manage their careers, prepare for the unexpected and network for success. Job seekers should also beware of bad job offers, while taking advantage of online job seeking tools.
- “The future of law is specialization,” writes Above the Law’s Brian Tannebaum. In “Why Would Anyone Hire You?” he offers several tips on how to become the go-to guy or gal in a specific, specialized area of law that, therefore, makes you a more marketable asset.
- Networking not only brings in firm business, but also increases your chances of that next job offer. Unfortunately, it’s not a process that comes naturally to most lawyers. Divorce Discourse is here to help with several Networking 101 articles and a free webinar.
- If you’ve stagnated in your career, it might be because you lack a career narrative that states your job accomplishments, goals and development needs. “Younger Workers Need a Career Narrative” will help you write a narrative of your own.
- Lawyer Casting’s “LinkedIn for Lawyers 101” post offers several tips in how to use the professional networking site for such things as: business development, marketing and sales; job search; recruiting; and career management.
- To help job seekers avoid “coming across as just another name on just another résumé,” Above the Law partnered with ViewYou to provide video profiles for job seekers. The ViewYou NOW profiles are intended to be a “professional, powerful way” lawyers and law students can set themselves apart from the competition.