“Some firms have outsourced a lot of their administrative and technology functions,” Lechtick said.

Monday, July 6, 2015

 

Legal industry sheds 800 jobs in June

National legal sector saw 800 fewer jobs in June, while local market stayed stagnant

By Melanie Brisbon

Daily Journal Staff Writer

 

The number of jobs in the legal sector nationwide dipped in June, according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Seasonally adjusted numbers show 800 legal jobs were dropped last month. There were 1,121,400 jobs nationwide in the legal sector, which includes attorneys, paralegals and court clerks. The legal industry employed 1,122,200 professionals in May.

Jill Levin, a legal recruiter at Levin & Associates, said the market is strong across the country and that the decline in jobs likely reflects the consolidation of support staff and not a decrease in attorney jobs.

“In terms of the loss of 800 jobs, ever since the recession, no one hires in the same way they used to,” Levin said. “It seems that more and more firms are consolidating their support staff.”

“Today, it’s not unusual to have four attorneys to one secretary,” she added.

Sandy Lechtick, a recruiter at Esquire Inc., said he has seen firms increase their searches for legal talent as well as a growth in the number of firms that attempt to increase profits by cutting overhead costs.

“Some firms have outsourced a lot of their administrative and technology functions,” Lechtick said. “We’re seeing that the firms’ appetite for talent is increasing, so it’s a fairly robust job market from our vantage point.”

In California, there were 135,200 legal jobs in May, showing no change from the month earlier, according to the most recent data from the state’s Employment Development Department, which lag a month behind national numbers. May’s numbers show an increase of 2,500 jobs from the previous year.

The legal market in California is strong and firms continue to seek attorneys at all levels with corporate transactional and real estate experience, legal experts say.

“The associate market is coming back but it still has a long way to go to what it was like pre-recession,” Lechtick said. “Just about every law firm in town is looking for corporate partners.”

Cybersecurity, complex business litigation, class action defense and intellectual property are other hot practice areas, he added.

Legal experts project that there will continue to be more law firm mergers. Earlier this year, Dentons US LLP merged with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP. Last month, DLA Piper LLP (US) announced a cooperation agreement with Colombia based Martinez Neira Abogados where the firms will operate as DLA Piper Martinez Neira. Another merger between Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP along with Richardson & Patel LLP became effective earlier this month.

melanie_brisbon@dailyjournal .com

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