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I recently had a discussion with a manager of Legal Authority, my favorite job search company for attorneys, about exactly what happens in the market when there is a recession. Specifically we discussed what occurs in the job market for attorneys—who gets hired and who does not get hired. Since I have been witnessing this process take place for years, I thought learning the dynamics of it would be interesting.
On its most basic level, what happens during an economic recession is that the growth of jobs in the legal community involving transactional work slows down for the most part, while the growth of jobs involving litigation speeds up. Litigation tends to increase when the economy gets bad, because people are more aware of losses in their business dealings caused by the wrongdoing of other parties, and they sue.
Growth in corporate, securities, and real estate-related jobs all typically slows down dramatically during a recession. This may also be the case for patent law, although there is typically a greater lag time. Patent work already in the system (“in stream”) continues, but new patent work enters law firms much more slowly than when the economy is bustling. This results in a delay of two to three years before patent attorneys may notice the slowdown. Jobs in trademark also tend to stop or slow down because less new business and fewer new brands are being created in times of widespread financial hardship. Real estate companies and many other types of businesses or corporations become much more conservative with how they spend their money and how much work they assign.
This is a very basic summary of what occurs in the market when economic conditions are bad, and it’s exactly what we are seeing now.
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