Legal sector sheds jobs for second month in a row

However, California added 700 legal jobs from March to April, according to report
By Alexandra Schwappach
Daily Journal Staff Writer

The U.S. legal sector shed jobs for the second month in a row in May. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the sector lost 700 jobs last month, following a loss of 1,200 in April.

Legal services and business support services were the only industries to have lost jobs last month under the professional services category, according to Friday’s report. Other sectors that experienced job loss included food manufacturing and the motion picture industry.

The California legal sector, however, added 700 jobs from March to April, according to the most recent data from California’s Employment Development Department. There was little change in the sector between February and March.

Legal recruiter Sandy Lechtick said though summer has historically been a slower time of year for the legal industry, he has seen an uptick in business, especially in labor and employment, corporate, and intellectual property practices.

“Partner placement is as robust as ever,” Lechtick said. “I think that trend will continue throughout the summer.”

One of the few areas experiencing a slump, Lechtick said, is bankruptcy work. In May, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP acquired Los Angeles restructuring and bankruptcy boutique Peitzman Weg LLP in a move to diversify the small firm’s niche practice.

Earlier that month Los Angeles-based bankruptcy boutique Stutman Treister & Glatt shut it doors. Experts cited a decline in Chapter 11 cases as one possible reason for the firm’s closure.

Friday’s labor report also revealed that the U.S. economy added 217,000 jobs in May, with the unemployment rate remaining unchanged at 6.3 percent. Employment increased in areas including health care and social assistance, food services and transportation and warehousing.

The health care industry added 34,000 jobs over the month, twice its average monthly gain for the prior 12 months, according to the labor department.

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