While the U.S. economy shed another 216,000 jobs in August, the legal sector lost only 100 jobs during the month, according to statistics released Friday by the the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers are seasonally adjusted. When not seasonally adjusted, the legal sector lost 11,000 jobs -- presumably because of the flow of summer associates back to law schools across the country. (See The Employment Situation: August 2009.)
While the pace of job losses in the legal market slowed in August, we've seen a steady stream of reported reductions at Kirkland & Ellis, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, Quarles & Brady and Cooley Godward Kronish. Most striking to us here at The Am Law Daily are the increasingly fuzzy numbers -- or no numbers -- we've been getting from law firms when asked about job cuts. Earlier this week, when we reached out to Sonnenschein, following up on a report of layoffs on Above The Law, the most we got was confirmation of some cuts, with no number detailed. Our colleagues at Texas Lawyer have been similarly challenged in trying to pinpoint the exact number of lawyers let go at Baker Botts -- at one point earlier this week, reporters from the paper took to counting up the number of lawyers on the firm's Web site and comparing the number to an earlier count last week.
Is it just us, readers, or does it seem like the more we've documented this over the past year, the hazier the picture has gotten?
This article first appeared on The Am Law Daily blog on AmericanLawyer.com.