By Casey Sullivan
Dec 7 (Reuters) - As the U.S. unemployment rate hit its
lowest level in nearly four years, dropping to 7.7 percent from
7.9 percent in November, the legal sector added 200 jobs,
according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.
The new legal sector jobs contributed to an overall increase
of 146,000 jobs last month, the bureau said. The last time more
people were employed in the legal sector was in June 2009,
according to the bureau.
The bureau also adjusted upward its preliminary estimates
for legal services jobs added in October to 1,000. It had
previously reported 600 new jobs that month.
Analysts have predicted that law firms could seek to reduce
their partnership ranks early next year. A Wells Fargo survey in
November said that about 15 percent of U.S. law firms were
looking to reduce their partnership ranks in the first quarter
of 2013 to resolve the problem of underused partners.
The Zeughauser Group, a law firm consultancy, released an
early December report that said many law firms throughout the
country had already engaged in such layoffs.
"The first half of 2012 saw what we have since called a
'Silent Spring,' in which a number of firms - without fanfare or
press coverage - underwent significant downsizing in their
equity and non-equity partner ranks," the report said.
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook