A few states’ budgets are in decent enough shape that they will actually revive legal hiring this year. Most will not. And many of those will probably not be doing much legal hiring next year as well. 44 states have cut their work forces since 2008. And more cuts are likely on the way before the attrition bottoms out. But those states that are in better shape than others are where you should be looking if working for a state government is in your future.
Having a point of view is generally admirable. People who respond to polls with “no opinion” or “I don’t know” might as well be back in the primordial ooze, flagellating their way hither and yon in aimless pursuit of they know not what. Opinions provide some focus and often an organizing principle. Unless you are Adolf Hitler or Mao Tse-tung, or the two legal career counseling clients I describe below, that is a good thing. As always, the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
After bottoming late last year, attorney layoffs by law firms primarily, and to a lesser extent by corporate in-house counsel offices and state and local governments, are gradually creeping up once more as the U.S. economic recovery slows. The “odd-man-out” of this bleak picture is the federal government which, as I write this blog, has more than 150 attorney positions listed on www.usajobs.com. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have multiple attorney openings.