Legal Jobs Report: July 2015

A summary of the BLS Report for the professional and business services industry—based on June 2015 data

Total employment increased by 223,000 in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.3 percent.

The number of jobs in the legal industry remained unchanged, with just 800 jobs lost for the month of June. The legal profession has added 2,000 jobs since June 2014, according to the most recent jobs report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Overall, the number of people with jobs in the legal industry fell to 1,121,400 in June from 1,122,200 in May.

The small decline comes at the same time that jobs in professional and business services—which includes those in the legal industry—grew by 64,000 in June. (These BLS numbers are preliminary and are frequently adjusted in later reports.)

The change in total employment for April and May was revised, from +221,000 to +187,000, and +280,000 to +254,000 respectively. After incorporating these revisions, combined employment gains in both months were actually 60,000 lower than previously reported. Over the course of the last 3 months, job increases have averaged 221,000 per month.

Legal Jobs Report for July 2015 - Chart Showing 223,000 New Jobs Added in June

Less Applicants to Law Schools

The number of applicants to law schools has been declining since 2010, according to numbers from the Law School Admission Council. While there were nearly 88,000 applicants to law school in 2010, the number for 2014 admission was only 55,700, and as of July 3, there were only 52,056 applicants for the 2015 school year. That’s not a death knell, however—experts point to the recession and an influx of law school applicants in 2009 and 2010 as the job market suffered.

There’s also been a trend toward smaller law school class sizes, meaning that schools are admitting fewer students overall, according to sources at the LSAC.

On the job scene, there have been 48 mergers and acquisitions among law firms in the first two quarters of 2015, according to numbers from Altman Weil, a management consulting firm that services legal organizations. And headcount growth is not the main objective of these deals. “Most firms are pursuing strategic, incremental additions with an eye on profit growth rather than headcount,” said Eric Seeger, Altman Weil principal, in the press release.

Nationally for all employees, average hourly earnings remained consistent at $24.95 per hour, and the average workweek for employees remained unchanged at 34.5 hours.

Attract & Retain Top Talent

With a rapidly changing industry, it's vital to offer the right compensation and set the right expectation. With our Salary Guide, get detailed job descriptions, industry insights and local salary data to equip your managers with hiring confidence and expertise.

Get your copy »

Get email updates about more content like this.


| Next articles in The Column blog |

Get the foundation you need to hire the best legal talent.

Request your copy of our 2021 Salary Guide »