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Legal Job Gains Double in June, Sector Looks to Regain Footing

July 2, 2020, 3:28 PM

Employers added 7,500 legal jobs in June, more than doubling the prior month’s gain even as coronavirus spread worsens throughout the country.

Legal sector employment, including lawyers in firms and other offices, was just over 1.1 million, the Labor Department reported Friday as part of U.S. data showing a strong jump in overall non-farm employment.

The legal sector began last month to offset its loss of 64,000 jobs between March and April as the pandemic first took hold in the U.S., mostly in the East, Midwest and Washington state, and devastated the economy.

Cash-saving measures included furloughs and double-digit cuts in staff, attorney and partner compensation. Only a handful of firms, including Goodwin Procter and Nixon Peabody, have imposed layoffs so far.

Law firms also have put mergers and acquisitions on a back burner, slowed lateral hiring, and trimmed summer associate programs.

The sector added 3,200 jobs in May, but the virus has since spread aggressively to the South and further throughout the West.

It’s unclear whether a worsening pandemic will impact legal sector jobs going forward. Businesses could still remain cautious to commit legal spend and there also are rumblings that firms might cut back staff if work-from-home efforts prove productive and efficient in the long run.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Olson in Washington at egolson1@gmail.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com

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