LawCrossing Reports That Legal Employment Is Increasing
LawCrossing, an affiliate of Employment Research Institute, reports that the unemployment rate in the legal profession continues to drop. Says LawCrossing:
As per the latest Employment Situation Summary of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities in professional and business services expanded in September. A closer study revealed that the job market has once again favored lawyers. In the legal sector, the job growth is largely being attributed to the creation of many new non-traditional positions for lawyers. According to Harrison Barnes, Chief Executive Officer of LawCrossing, “The drop in September’s unemployment rate in the legal sector, has been driven by employment growth in small and mid-sized law firms as well as big law firms.” Latest job searches conducted on LawCrossing supports the job growth showing more than 38,900 legal opportunities in the U.S.
And the American Bar Association itself reports that the legal sector has added jobs for the third month in a row. Thus, reports LawCrossing:
Conclusively, the legal job market is looking favorable, and holds true to the BLS forecast that was made in regard to employment of lawyers in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition.
This report substantiates Cooley’s position that now is a great time to start law school. It also is consistent with Digital Journal’s published account of an earlier LawCrossing report that legal employment will increase starting in the second half of 2013 and continuing through 2014.
Cites Job-Posting Firm Agreeing With Cooley Law School’s Assessment
Lawyer hiring will continue to increase in the second half of 2013 and through 2014, notes Digital Journal, citing the jobs-posting firm LawCrossing.com. Based upon detailed job posting data, this positive hiring trend “is well illustrated in the number of jobs continually posted by top recruiters on its web pages.” And Digital Journal notes how LawCrossing agrees with prior commentary from Cooley’s President and Dean, Don LeDuc:
[LeDuc] claims that the economy will improve, and government agencies will start hiring lawyers once again. This is exactly what LawCrossing also envisages considering that recruiters are constantly posting new openings on its jobsite and increasingly making use of its newly launched employer page. A job search conducted on LawCrossing at the time of this release, showed 966 active legal jobs in Atlanta, above 1,000 legal openings created in Boston, 1577 legal opportunities in Chicago, almost 1,000 chances in Dallas, 957 new legal positions in Houston, 1238 legal postings for Los Angeles, 2952 legal job openings in New York city, 528 legal job listings for Philadelphia, 1,120 chances in San Francisco and 3,093 active openings in Washington D.C.
The job listings show opportunities for both new and seasoned lawyers. “To date there are over 43,000 openings on the jobsite that need to be filled with the right talent.”
Lawyer Hiring Up Though Many Firms Cautious, Says Consulting Firm Altman Weil
Lawyer hiring is up according to the 2013 Law Firms in Transition Survey recently released by the Altman Weil consulting firm and authored by Thomas S. Clay. Based upon a sample of 791 U.S. law firms with 50 or more lawyers, the report suggests that, although firms are being careful about growth and more selective in determining who will become partner, many are expanding the numbers of lawyers within their ranks.
For the year 2012, the following percentages of firms reported increases in the number of lawyers by categories (with the percentage of increase in the parenthetical):
53.5% increased the number of equity partners (the median change was 1%).
65.1% increased the number of non-equity partners (the median change was 3%)
59.4% increased the number of partner-track associates (the median change was 2%).
28.2% increased the number of non-partner-track associates (the median change was 0%).
35.9% increased the number of other full-time lawyers (the median change was 0%).
The use of part-time and contract lawyers is now the norm within these firms:
81.6% are using part-time lawyers.
76.5% are using contract lawyers.
And many firms see growth by hiring new lawyers:
89.4% plan to hire laterals during 2013.
55.7% believe growth is a requirement for their firms’ continued success.
Altman Weil’s observations are consistent with published reports about the improving legal job market in Michigan and with Cooley’s own observations about lawyer demographics that the market for legal jobs is picking up.
Crain’s Detroit Business Says Michigan Lawyer Job Market Picking Up
In a story published April 5, 2013, Chad Halcomb of Crain’s Detroit Business reports on recent expansion within the Detroit legal community. In “Legally Speaking, Detroit is in expansion mode,” Halcom notes that several large Detroit firms have expanded via mergers to grow into the legal markets in other cities. “Detroit-based Clark Hill PLC and Dickinson Wright PLLC together absorbed 142 of the 318 attorneys nationwide who had to change letterhead during first-quarter 2013 due to mergers and acquisitions.” Cooley graduates work at both firms.