Law Practice Management

Recession Boosts Employment Law Demand While Other Practice Areas Decline

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Labor and employment work is growing for BigLaw firms, the only practice area seeing consistent gains in the last year and a half.

A survey of the nation’s largest law firms by the Hildebrandt Institute’s Peer Monitor Index reveals the trend, the Washington Post reports. Corporate demand for labor and employment work rose nearly 5 percent during the year’s second quarter 2012, when compared to the same period last year. Demand for corporate, real estate and bankruptcy work, on the other hand, declined 2 percent to 3 percent. Transactional work is also declining.

“At the beginning of the year, we said that 2012 could be one of the most challenging years in recent memory for law firms,” the report (PDF) says. “The primary concerns are still much in evidence: flat demand, continued pricing pressure and rising costs.”

The Post story offers several reasons why labor and employment practices are busier. Laid-off workers are more likely to sue, making employment law countercyclical. At the same time, more companies are suing former workers for violations of noncompete agreements. And companies are facing more regulations and audits.

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