It looks like the recession is continuing to hit law firms – especially the big ones – hard. According to California Lawyer, in 2009, the number of associates at the top 250 firms in the U.S. declined by 8.7 %, while the number of lawyers overall shrank by 4%.
The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the legal sector as a whole lost 3,900 during the month of June, and it’s lost over 22,000 jobs since this time last year. The large firms have cited reasons like lack of demand for legal services and “price pressures” for the drop in the number of jobs.
In this economic climate, solo lawyers and small-firm practitioners might have some advantages over their counterparts in big firms. If you’re on your own (or the head of a small office), you have a certain degree of flexibility that you can take advantage of in adapting to market demands. For instance, you can evaluate client demand, and make the decision to add or expand a practice area. Even more importantly, you can put systems in place to make sure that your firm develops the best possible relationship with each of your clients, making you the lawyer they come back to again and again.
Keep a lookout for an upcoming post on the specific things elder law practitioners can do to survive… and maybe even thrive… despite the dismal economy.
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Road, Suite 240
San Diego, CA 92124