Legal Industry is Bouncing Back after April's Slashing Job Market
After the plummeting job market of April, the legal sector of America seems to be picking the pieces up.
According to the latest report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, the country saw an overall decrease of 1.4% in unemployment in May. The economy brought back 2.5 million jobs, and alongside, the legal sector added 3,200 jobs in the market.
How COVID-19 Affects Law Firms
Covid-19's influence on the legal sector can be felt in every aspect of the industry, from the classrooms to the courtroom. With depositions canceled, hearing rescheduled, and deadlines extended, the legal sector has been almost upended by the pandemic. The urgency that typically drives the practice of law has been hindered, and so has the need for people to hire lawyers.
Consequently, law firms have been suffering the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. To no surprise, the U.S saw the unemployment rate hit a record high in April 2020, with over 20 million jobs lost. Legal jobs were not an exception to the turmoil.
As per the reports, the sector saw a loss of 64,000 jobs in April. Law firms have been employing cost-cutting measures, by overhauling summer internships and temporary pay cuts.
The legal industry employs a wide range of professionals, from attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries, and other consulting positions. The sector currently provides 1,097,500 jobs, which is down by 50,000 from the same time last year. This figure does not account for law professors and consultants working in the top rated law schools of the country.
A large percentage of legal positions have suffered due to the pandemic through furloughs, layoffs, and other austerity measures. Even the most stable and established firms of the country adopted drastic measures to mitigate the financial and economic impact of COVID-19.
For the Class of 2020, who are still looking for jobs, the quest for employment might take longer than usual. With Bar exams postponed, and private companies halting new hires, graduates might have to expand their search criteria.
After the disastrous turn of events in April, even as layoffs continue in June, the legal service sector has massive potential for recovering, The modest improvement in job numbers in May certainly presents an encouraging note.
COVID-19 as an Opportunity
Though the current scenario might seem distressing, history shows that the legal industry has plenty to hope for. Restructuring lawyers, and firms with strong labor practices are seeing a boost in activity,
Looking back at the post-recession period, the crisis could also lead to the launch of new companies and entrepreneurs. The legal industry could be looking at a rise in jobs in the future, where lawyers will be in high demand to help businesses emerge and grow. Companies will seek attorneys to claim rights and protect their businesses.
Law firms and law schools can take advantage of this time to reassess and strategize for the post-pandemic market. The legal landscape will undoubtedly experience a transformation, and it will most likely make way for a more agile and adaptable market.
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