Lawyers fear industry layoffs will continue, new data show

BVWireIssue #81-2
June 10, 2009

What do you do when the lawyer who served as a steady source of work is now unemployed? Sounds extreme, but such could be the case in a recession unlike any other in recent memory. Indeed, lawyers themselves expect the recession to be deep, wide, and last for years to come.

Consider: Almost one-third of U.S. lawyers expect their employers will have layoffs, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Bar Association Journal—the flagship magazine of the American Bar Association—that received 14,307 responses from attorneys nationwide. (The poll is part of a special issue devoted entirely to the recession.) The survey also found 31% of lawyers expect that, by the end of 2009, someone in their workplaces will have lost his or her job because of the recession. Among that 31%, 19% expect that they will lose their own jobs next year. Asked for thoughts on when the economy will improve for the legal profession, 52% of respondents said in 2010; 22% answered 2011; 10% said 2012; 9% said 2009; and 7% believed that it’ll never be the same.

How BV experts can strengthen relationships with members of the Bar during these tough times: Provide a resource. “We need to soak them with value in the form of information, tips, and knowledge before we ever ask for a project,” explained Mel Abraham, president of Mel H. Abraham, Inc. Send them articles or offer to do free seminars or webinars for law firm or local Bar association groups. You might even qualify for CPE credit, depending on your CPE society or governing foundation.

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