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Where the Jobs Are Hot (and Not)

Vivia Chen

June 20, 2013

CollegeLists_by_wavebreakmedia_ShutterstockI know it's only June, but if you're in law school, you're probably thinking about what firms to sign up for during early interview week. And if you're just thinking about going to law school, you're probably wondering where to apply. Before you do anything, check out what's going on in the current legal job market. Here's a summary of recent job trends from The National Law Journal:

1. The five go-to cities (biggest winners for increasing the percentage of lawyers). The legal market is still limping along, but these cities are defying the odds:

Denver 7.5%
Houston 4.3%
Dallas 3.1%
Miami 3.0%
Pittsburgh 3.0%


No big surprises there—but Pittsburgh? Well, apparently, it's got loads of shale work that's keeping lawyers busy. (The National Law Journal)


2. The five you-might-think-twice-before-you-go cities (biggest losers in lawyer count):

Kansas City, Mo. -4.0%
Chicago -2.0%
Los Angeles -1.5%
Seattle -1.4%
Indianapolis -1.4%


Number six on that loser list is New York, with an 0.8 percent decline in law jobs. But I would never cross the Big Apple off your list, because it's still home to the biggest number of lawyers in the country. Plus, how you can you pass up the opportunity to live in the most exciting, most competitive, most grimy, and—by far—most fascinating city in the world?


3. It's still a good time to learn Mandarin. If you want to go abroad, pack your bags for China or Hong Kong, which both had big gains in lawyer head counts this year, according to the NLJ:

Beijing, with an 11 percent gain, experienced the highest percentage growth of any city—domestic or international—in this year’s NLJ 350 Regional Report. Hong Kong, with a 5.6 percent jump, had the second-highest increase among foreign offices, behind Beijing.

Both cities stood in sharp contrast to the overall 1.1 percent head count increase at NLJ 350 law firms during 2012.

4. But maybe you should drop the Russian lessons. "Moscow was the only city to lose lawyers last year among the overseas markets tracked by the NLJ 350 Regional Report, as U.S. firms operating in the Russian capital dropped attorneys at a rate of 2 percent." (NLJ)

5. It's official: DLA has trumped Baker & McKenzie. It's been a neck-to-neck race, but DLA has beaten Baker & McKenzie for the top prize. DLA now has a whopping 4,036 lawyers! (NLJ)

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Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Thanks for the post. I see too many headlines complaining about the jobs market for law so I appreciate when people provide some solutions to the problem.

Additionally, I'd like to add a related point. While it's been a tough market for people coming out of law school, there's considerable demand for associates who have 3 or more years of experience at a law firm. Additionally, this is even more true for attorneys working in the hottest cities for law (http://blog.careernumbers.com/?p=224).

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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