I’ve been holding back on doing this. Dreading it, in fact. The last time I posted about the legal employment market, the stastics out there showed little growth in May, and a dive back into the negatives in June. At the same time, the nation was dealing with a massive oil spill, Greek debt crises abroad, and latent unemployment everywhere driving what was supposed to be a “Summer of Recovery.”
Well, summer is at an end. The markets have been up for a month. Students who were fortunate enough to win the Summer Associate BigLaw lottery are looking at higher retention rates (and job security) and helping clear the field a bit for the 3Ls still looking for work. Legal employment numbers were also up for August and September.
But there’s still a lingering uncertainty in the stormy legal market. More and more entry-level legal jobs (and document review jobs that unemployed attorneys could rely upon) are being shipped to India. And then there’s that backlog of graduates from the last two years who have been unable to find work — those who haven’t given up on their dreams of legal employment may be coming back into the market to fight for jobs, even if their contract attorney work experience doesn’t carry much weight.
Sources near me tell me that even for low-paying legal secretary jobs at their firm, they are seeing hundreds of unemployed J.D.-toting applicants. It’s both an absurd and sad testament to the times.
So – are things on the mend? Probably so.
Are the nervous 3Ls who have watched the two law classes before them sentenced to unemployment purgatory beeming with excitement? Not yet, at least. And it’s fair to say not for awhile.
[UPDATED: Things are looking better for 2016]