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Law Jobs in an Economic Slump

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With the economic downturn, there's nothing worse today that is affected like the legal job market. Then, there are the aspects to take care of such as intense competition, client cut backs, layoffs, and reduced pay. The changes are evident with attorneys cracking under the pressure. There have been reports of suicide in 3 major law firms in the United States. The state of the law firms in the last 6 months has not been something encouraging as they have demonstrated that lawyers have to bear the brunt of the downturn and the failing market. The intensity of big wins and billable hours are on the rise. More and more attorneys are leaving their jobs.

According to a study that was conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, lawyers have been ranked fifth among the professionals who are prone to committing suicide. The situation has grown worse and lawyers are the workers who are quickly subject to depression owing to their work pressure and legal training that more often than not bears them down. In fact, the stress factors of the lawyers are created by their own work profile and they are often victims to these for years on end.


The deteriorating economy affects the lives of the attorneys as generally lawyers are laid off in the middle of all those cost cutting measures. In the case of law, often lawyers end up losing a case just before committing suicide. The stress of the recession is tough on employees and this is especially true in the case of lawyers who are generally over achievers. Their working conditions and legal training can be the reasons for work related stress, as has been confirmed by a recent study. The anxiety that is accompanied thereby can lead to contemplation of suicidal thoughts.

What has been termed as an ''equal opportunity downfall for everyone'', it seems that the recession is playing havoc with the attorneys and their careers. In fact, they cannot visit their friends and family members if they live in the same place, and the law professionals who are facing the hammer are under extreme stress to live up to their expectations. They are being pushed to the end of their rope. One of the prominent law firms, Kilpatrick, had been headed by Mark Levy in the sphere of the Supreme Court practice. Levy committed suicide in his Washington, DC office as he was one of the 24 lawyers to be dismissed.

A female associate at Simpson Thatcher killed herself after the firm dismissed her. George Covington of King and Spalding killed himself after he along with a team of litigators faced a jury trial defeat in a case that was going on for 7 years. There isn't much of a legal risk involved when lawyers commit suicide or when they take their lives. Only a handful of lawyers' families can actually move the court for suing the firms. In all, law firms are responding to the downturn by slashing their budgets.


About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

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