Monday, October 5, 2009

2,000 Legal Jobs Lost in September; Bankruptcy a Bright Spot

Bankruptcy continues to be a hot jobs market with the number of bankruptcy filings surging to over the 1,000,000 mark. Jobs in bankruptcy are offering a source of hope for unemployed young attorneys. Schools like the National Bankruptcy College are offering retraining programs to attorneys who cannot locate a job or need to transition their job skills from fading practice areas to a surging bankruptcy practice.

In contract, the non-bankruptcy legal market is not doing so well. According to a monthly jobs report released Friday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation lost 263,000 jobs in September of 2009 as the unemployment rate reached 9.8 percent, highest in 26 years.

The legal sector wasn't spared. When the data is seasonally adjusted, the sector shed another 2,000 jobs. When not seasonally adjusted, the legal industry lost 13,600 jobs, likely a result of the conclusion of most summer associate programs and the return of students to their law schools.

While layoffs at Am Law firms appear to have tapered off from their brisk pace earlier this year, some firms still are thinning their ranks. Reportedly, Chicago-based Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal enacted its third round of cuts of the past 18 months, reducing its ranks by 30 attorneys in September, including 10 income partners.

Signs don't point to any major improvements in the employment stats in the legal field for October.

On Friday, The Recorder reported that Colley Godward Kronish was laying off 58 staffers, with the majority of the cuts coming from the secretarial ranks. The layoffs represent nearly 6 percent of the firm's total staff. Cooley previously cut 52 lawyers and 62 staff in January. Source: Brian Baxter of The Am Law Daily blog.

Warmest Regards,

Bob Schaller

Your Bankruptcy Advisor Blog
By: Attorney Robert Schaller (Bob's bio) of the Schaller Law Firm

Bob is a member of the National Bankruptcy College Attorney Network, American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

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