I’ve been hearing about of legal firms laying off people.  I’ve also been hearing that law students are having a difficult time finding work.  However, I haven’t seen many statistics.  After a little digging, here’s what I found out about the state of the legal industry:

Total 2009 Active US Lawyers:  1,180,386 (also see bls.gov)

# of Lawyers laid off from Major Law Firms: 5,511 (also see St. Petersburg Times, Nov. 10, 2009 – 5,259)

# of Lawyers at Major Law Firms in 2009 (top 250 firms): 126,669

Doing a little bit of math and assumptions (i.e. assuming the same cuts across the board), it looks like the total legal industry may have shed 51,355 jobs.

Consider that in 2008, 56,537 people were admitted on examination and 7,888 were admitted on motion and you can see why the legal jobs have all dried up.  We have double the amount of people looking for work.

If you are looking for work, I hope you find it.  If you’re competing for a legal job, remember that you now have to beat twice the number of people.  Polish that resume and do something different than the rest to stand out.  Good Luck.

Personally, I’m grateful I still have a job with steady work.  I wish that for you as well.