Why There Will Be More Legal Jobs in 2012

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We’ve all been waiting for the economy to turn around, or at least for that turnaround to show itself in the form of jobs. This is particularly true in the legal profession, which has seen its ranks decimated, hiring freezes, and so on, as companies have cut back to the bone.

Yet there are signs that there may be room for optimism in finding entry level jobs for lawyers next year, for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at some of those.

  • New niches will open up. Opportunities will be rife in certain areas of law, particularly those that have to do with some of the new reforms coming down the pike. As more and more provisions of the health care reform bill come into play, for example, the legal profession will be tasked with figuring out not just what the implications are for companies, but for everyone else along the spectrum of health care, from patients to hospitals. The complexity of the new health care laws ensures that legal counsel will be needed in this area for years to come.
  • Companies have become too lean. This is always the risk that companies face, that in difficult times they have to let people go, and then when business picks up, they find themselves scrambling to keep up. Many legal firms were brutal in wielding the job-cutting scalpel, and now that there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon, find that they don’t have the staff on hand to handle existing work, much less new work in the pipeline. An improving economy also means that employees will have more choices available to them; thus, companies won’t be able to get away with having each employee do the job of three, unless they want everyone to jump ship at the first opportunity.
  • Less competition. The dire statistics in recent years about finding jobs in the legal profession have given many people pause, making them rethink their plans to become lawyers. This is good news for those currently in law school or otherwise looking for a job in the law field, as there will be fewer people jockeying for each position. For those who have been at the top of their class or field, this makes it easier for you to shine, as your accomplishments won’t be lost in a vast sea of thousands of resumes.

Certainly, this doesn’t mean that finding jobs for lawyers will now be easy, at least not yet. However, the signs do bode well for those who’ll be looking for a legal job in 2012, as they may be surprised – pleasantly, for a change – by the opportunities available to them.

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