Unavailability of adequate number of legal jobs has been one of the main reasons for lawyers contemplating a career switch and law schools’ enrollments falling sharply. But, Harrison Barnes, Chief Executive Officer at LawCrossing.com explains that job opportunities in the legal industry, typically affected by cyclical swings in the economy, will pick up. “While there may be a slow-paced rise in legal jobs, these are sure to expand in the second half of 2013 and through 2014.” he affirms.
Experts believe that the legal industry, hit greatly during the economic downturn, will take years in order to recover to pre-economic downturn levels. Since the supply of lawyers is greater than actual demand, the number of law school applicants has dipped below 60,000 this year and shows signs of contracting all the more. There has been a 4.9% drop in the number of candidates attempting the Law School Admission Test this June from the year before, as they find newer career options. While this culminates as bad news for law schools, Professor Bernard Burk of the University of North Carolina School of Law believes that the dynamic between the market for new law students and the market for new lawyers offers a ray of hope in what otherwise would seem as a dismal landscape. In his latest paper, “What’s New About the New Normal: The Evolving Market for New Lawyers in the 21st Century,” Burk explains that the contracting legal academy could actually help reduce the lawyer glut in future. This is because there will be fewer law graduates seeking legal jobs, unlike now. This in turn, will help restore the reputation and the viability of the profession.
While law firm layoffs, delayed first-year classes and unemployment of law graduates are making headlines, Don LeDuc, Dean and President of Thomas M. Cooley Law School makes a completely contrary prediction for the near future. He 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.
LawCrossing believes that there is a slow but steady rise in legal jobs. And this is well illustrated in the number of jobs continually posted by top recruiters on its web pages. The legal employment website showcases several job listings for both new and seasoned lawyers and has successfully steered the careers of many lawyers in the right direction in the past few months. This includes the span in which the economy was in the slump. To date there are over 43,000 openings on the jobsite that need to be filled with the right talent.