The redundancy rounds at Australian law firms have eased over the last quarter, but with 5,800 United States legal jobs lost in the month of October alone, US lawyers are still struggling to stay employed.
The latest figures to come out of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics last week found that 190,000 jobs were lost in the US in the month of October, pushing the US unemployment rate up to a staggering 10.2 per cent. After analysing the figures, The AM Law Daily has reported that October saw the loss of 5,800 legal jobs in the US - up from 2000 lost jobs in the month of September. AM Law Daily notes that the redundancy rounds had somewhat "flat lined" in the months leading up to October, before some major law firm layoffs were then announced in October.
At the top end of town, a survey released Monday from the US National Law Journal offers a bigger picture of just how dire the state of the US legal sector actually is. Their 32nd annual National Law Journal survey found that the number of lawyers working across the 250 largest law firms in the US has dropped in headcount by 5259 - that's a drop of 4 per cent and the largest drop in numbers since they started tracking the data more than three decades ago.
The Journal reports that such a slide in figures was only the third time lawyer numbers have dropped - and the largest drop in lawyer numbers - since it started collecting such information in 1978. The other two years to have seen a decline were 1992 (a drop of 1 percent) and 1993 (a drop of 0.9 percent).
The survey also found that 15 of the largest 75 law firms have lost more than 100 lawyers over the last year.
Read more on the National Law Journal's survey here.
See this Friday's edition of Lawyers Weekly for an update on market expectations for the legal sector in Australia