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By The Numbers: The Recession’s Toll On The Legal Industry

Amanda James and Annie Pancak LAW360.COM

The impact of the financial crisis manifested over several years in the legal industry: Established firms tumbled into nonexistence, starting salaries for young associates took a nosedive, and the law school pipeline slowed to a trickle. A decade later, the industry seems to be recovering, but it’s clear the crisis has had a lasting impact, particularly for starting attorneys.

Storm Clouds Ahead?

Another financial crisis may be inevitable, given the cyclical nature of the economy. A decade out from the 2008 recession, consultants expressed mixed views as to how well prepared they think the industry would be for another one.

Michelle Fivel of Major Lindsey & Africa, a recruiter in the field for more than a decade, said she thinks firms have made adjustments, becoming more prudent with hiring and making sure staff are more productive. However, she noted that “firms are reactive, not proactive,” so it is unclear how well they’d weather a financial storm.

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