Sinking Settlements

Although the number of U.S. securities class action suits has remained consistent this year, the number of settlements in those cases has dropped significantly, according to a study by NERA Economic Consulting. The average value of those settlements, however, has increased in 2012, although some of that is attributable to a $1.01 billion settlement in In re American International Group, Inc. Securities Litigation.

98 Projected cases that will be settled in 2012 (the number stands at 49 through June)

128 Total cases settled in 2011

62 Projected settlements with monetary compensation this year, down from 87 in 2011

$71 million Average value of securities class action settlements in the first half of 2012

$41 million Average value of those settlements excluding In re American International Group

$31 million Average value of the same settlements in 2011

Grim Graduation

In case you haven’t had your fill of depressing law school statistics, here are some more. According to a new study from the Association for Legal Career Professionals, 2011 graduates are earning significantly lower median salaries than graduates in past years. And those are the lucky ones: Nearly 15 percent of 2011 law school graduates can’t find jobs at all.

85.6% Employment rate for 2011 law school graduates, the lowest since 1994

65.4% Employed 2011 graduates who found jobs in law firms

-17% Decline in law school graduates’ starting salaries between 2009 and 2011

$60,000 National median salary of 2011 graduates who worked full-time for at least one year

$72,000 National median salary of 2009 graduates who worked for the same period

Labor Lawyers

The financial crisis hasn’t been kind to most of the legal industry, but attorneys working in the labor and employment sector have reason to smile, according to new data from the Hildebrandt Institute. Although demand for corporate, real estate and bankruptcy work fell during the second quarter of 2012, law firms saw an increase in the demand for labor and employment work in the same time period. Read on for a more complete breakdown:

4.2% Increase in demand for labor and employment work

-2.1% Decrease in demand for corporate work

-3% Decrease in demand for bankruptcy work

-0.2% Decrease in overall demand for legal services

5% Increase in the demand for legal work at Los Angeles law firms, the strongest among major markets

Flagging Firms

Between the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, the United Kingdom has had plenty to be excited about this year. Unfortunately, the country’s law firms don’t have as much to celebrate. According to Reuters, two of the U.K.’s largest law firms, Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, reported flat revenues and decreased profits per partner for the fiscal year ending April 30. But it’s not all bad news: The overall revenue for the country’s largest firms is expected to rise this year, in part due to mergers.

0.6% Increase in Linklaters’ revenue for the fiscal year ending in April, to $1.87 billion

-3% Decrease in the firm’s profits per partner in 2011, to $1.83 million

-0.7% Decrease in Freshfields’ profits from the previous year

-1% Decrease in the firm’s profits per partner from the previous year

6.6% Projected increase in revenue for the U.K.’s 100 largest law firms, according to a Deloitte study

Gender Gap

Diversity: It’s a perennial buzzword in the legal field, but are women actually making inroads in law firms? The answer, at least according to a new study from the National Law Journal (NLJ), is yes, but slowly. The NLJ surveyed 221 law firms, and found that the percentage of woman partners has increased over the past 10 years, although the percentage of women in equity partner positions has remained relatively stagnant. Read on for more statistics:

18.8% Percentage of all partners, including equity and non-equity, who are women, up from 16 percent in 2003

42% Percentage of female equity partners at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, the highest of all firms surveyed

11% Law firms that have no women on their highest governing committee, according to a November 2011 study from the National Association of Women Lawyers

15.1% Percentage of equity partners nationwide who are women, according to the same study