The headlines on employment overall are encouraging. The Labor Department reports that unemployment dropped to 8.3% in January. For the legal profession, the January figures are promising with a thousand new jobs reported. The downside of that statistic is that 1,800 legal sector jobs evaporated in December.
With these fluctuations it is sometimes hard to gauge improvement in law job prospects. The best way to summarize things may be to say that it's not as bad as 2009, but we are still talking about cuts in the number of legal jobs overall as opposed to a trend showing consistent increases.
After the plummet of 2009 when nearly 42,000 legal jobs were lost, legal position cuts have moderated the last couple of years. Law job cuts for 2011 totaled roughly 2,700. While news of any jobs being eliminated is discouraging, the silver lining is that the numbers of losses are diminishing greatly.
U.S. Department of Labor January Report
WSJ Law Blog