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Why there are likely to be jobs in Government during this recession

published April 11, 2020

By Author - LawCrossing
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( 68 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
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Why there are likely to be jobs in Government during this recession

The United States has never faced anything quite like the economic disjuncture caused by the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

As millions have hunkered down at home to stop the deadly virus from spreading, restaurants and bars have closed, airlines have slashed flights, the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 7.8% in a day, and the economy continues to tumble into recession, abruptly ending the record 11-year-old expansion.

“We’ve never seen anything like what we’re about to see in terms of the suddenness and severity of the shock, both to the broader economy and to the labor market in particular,” said Curt Long, chief economist and vice president of research at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions.

Legal experts predict that this economic downturn, colloquially called the Coronavirus recession, poses a threat to countless legal careers and might prevent tens of thousands from ever starting.

Law schools are canceling classes and have shifted to online coursework. Many law firms have closed offices, while others encourage attorneys to work from home.

The founder of BCG Attorney Search, legal recruiter Harrison Barnes, says the last three recessions the legal job market experienced were extremely mild compared to what we have here.

"The 2008 recession shook the financial markets to their core due to failing securities caused by irresponsible lending. The legal market experienced severe issues in the corporate sphere in particular," says Barnes. "The government pushed massive amounts of money into banks and the financial system to prevent an all-out collapse and what they did ended up working. There was a pronounced slowdown in the legal market that lasted well over a year."

According to legal employment experts, all attorneys, law graduates, and everyone working in the legal field should be taking steps in the right direction by going where the work is.

Get a job with Uncle Sam.

Government is one of the few practice settings likely to remain stable during the Coronavirus recession and for the next several years, legal experts report.

Legal recruiters advise those working in large law firms and those who are rather concerned by the upcoming recession to opt for a legal job opening at the government, as it would be a safe choice job-wise.

The reasoning behind this is pretty simple. The government is always operating. Even if courts are stopping for a while, there will be always government jobs.

To stimulate the economy, a lot of money needs to be pumped into the government - and there will be hiring at the state, local, and federal levels. There will be government jobs in all legal markets and employment available for older attorneys too.

Barnes notes that a government job eliminates the stress of finding new clients, worrying about money, or getting laid off.

"If I were a young attorney, I would do my best to get a government job right now in addition to searching for jobs in smaller markets. If I were practicing, I would start looking for positions in the government as well," he adds.

According to a paper by Duke University, recently distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research, legal employees working for the government are not only safe of keeping a job during the recession, but they tend to thrive as well.

Employees who take a legal job with the government during a recession tend to see more long-term wage growth compared to those who take a job with the government during an "economic boom," according to the research. When the unemployment rate increases one percentage point, law graduates and legal employees working for the government see long-term wage growth of 1% compared to those who work for the government when the economy is expanding.

Long-term wage growth refers to how much an employee’s salary increases over time. In this case, that growth takes three to four years but continues for 10 years thereafter. The researchers looked at 24 years of U.S. federal government employee data for college graduates and other new employees.

The results show that even though recent law graduates who enter the government in recessions also suffer a wage disadvantage at first, the initial wage cut disappears one year after entry and becomes a wage advantage in the second and later years.

A possible contributing factor for the long-term wage increase for college graduates joining the government during the recession is that hires during recessions are better matched to government jobs than those hired in booms.

Those working in the private sector during a recession see long-term negative effects on their wages.
So, even though aspiring lawyers would rather look for a legal position at the large legal market, or opt for corporate law, data shows that these legal fields are the least recession-proof and will get hit the most by the upcoming Covid-19 recession.

"In every recession that I have witnessed, corporate gets hit the hardest. There is no reason why the same should not occur this time as well. I have seen attorneys hit so hard by this in the past that much of my career has been defined in reaction to this. It has motivated me to get better and better at my job to try and save legal careers and start companies like LawCrossing and LegalAuthority to try and get attorneys jobs." explains Barnes.

Working for the government, might not sound as exciting as working in a large law firm, but at least you can rest assured you still have a job during the recession.

"Surviving this recession means going where the work is. Finding work may mean relocating to a different market, moving to a smaller firm, changing practice areas, or working in-house or for the government. There is always work when the legal market slows down, and the challenge is finding where the work is. You need to find places where the money is continuing to flow and not where the flow is stopping." says Barnes

published April 11, 2020

By Author - LawCrossing
( 68 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.