Legal sector jobs in the U.S. continue to stagnate, with employment in legal services declining slightly in July following a monthslong plateau, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report, released on Friday.
The number of seasonally adjusted jobs in the sector tallied up to 1,123,900 in July, an almost negligible decline of 200 from a preliminary count of 1,124,100 jobs in June, and a final count of 1,124,200 in May, according to Friday’s report.
According to Michelle Fivel, a partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa, while demand for legal services has remained robust, competition from new players in the industry have strangled off some of the growth that law firms would otherwise be seeing right now.
Alternative providers of legal services that have broken into the industry such as technology-based providers and temporary or contract staffing providers have drawn some of the business away from traditional law firms and full-time lawyers, she said.
“There are more alternatives that clients have now to get their legal demands met,” Fivel said. “So they don’t necessarily have to go to BigLaw to get all of their legal needs met.”
She added that in her 10 years working as a legal recruiter she has noticed that demand usually tends to slow down during election years.
“It does seem that each election cycle the pace of deals starts to slow down a little bit in anticipation of a change in administration and I do think we’re seeing a little bit of that as well this time around,” she said.