Biglaw, Election 2012, Small Law Firms

Legal Jobs Dip In March

Well, the economy keeps getting better, so we’re sure to see the Presidential election start to take on a more absurdist flair. Romney will attack the president for listening to Romney’s ideas on health care. Obama will attack Romney for being marvelous. And somebody will write a big time article about how political discourse in the 24/7 cable news and blogging world has hit a new nadir (oh, please let it be me).

But as the economy steadily improves, the election will be more about framing than substance. We’re coming out of a terrible recession, we’re recovering slowly because of the changing nature of the global economy. It’ll continue like this for a while regardless of who is president — unless we take away a woman’s right to choose, because only then will God love us and bring all of our manufacturing jobs back from China.

Or something like that.

That’s how it’s going to be unless the lawyers get involved. Because while the economy is slowly recovering for the rest of America, it seems like the economy is still stagnantly sucking for a bunch of attorneys and people with legal skills….

The WSJ Law blog has the latest report on the legal job numbers:

The legal services sector shed 1,300 jobs last month, according to the Labor Department. Overall, the economy added 120,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.2%.

The dip in March erased modest gains in February, when the Labor Department recorded 1,117,700 legal jobs. Since January, the sector has dropped 1,100 jobs.

Well, that blows.

The softness in the legal job market really translates to the stagnation of lawyer salaries. Partners are still making bank, but associates aren’t going to see a pay raise (or a non-miserly bonus) until hiring picks up enough that firms are actually made to care about losing their best people. Clearly, that’s not happening right now.

And it sure seems that support staff and paralegals are still caught in the terrible situation where their bonus is their job. The legal economy is soft, and that means a lot of people are still locked in a recessionary situation.

On the bright side… man, I don’t know. Waiting for PPP to trickle down feels a lot like getting drizzled on in Manhattan on a clear, hot day and really hoping it’s just air conditioning fluid.

Legal Jobs Report: March [WSJ Law Blog]

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