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July Brings Unemployment Claims for Georgia Lawyers

Bad news for lawyers. Unemployment rose in July, 2011 for Georgia lawyers and support staff. Last month 54 lawyers and 176 support staff in private practice filed for initial unemployment benefits according to the Georgia Department of Labor. Lawyers are feeling the pinch with a 17% increase in unemployment filings. Regarding legal support staff, a 12% increase in unemployment occurred in comparison to the 157 people who filed unemployment claims in June. A total of 230 Georgia legal industry workers filed claims in July. This is a 13% increase from June. These claims fall slightly shortly than the highest total claims filed since April (234 lawyers and staff filed claims). Legal workers are flocking to the Georgia Department of Labor for relief and these increased filings note the highest total number of monthly claims filed this year. The good news is that although July unemployment claims increased in June, the total claims filed by Georgia lawyers and staff for 2011 have decreased compared to 2010. Claims by lawyers in 2011 are down 13%, as compared to claims filed in 2010. Nationally, 1.1 million people in the legal services industry were without employment in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Legal industry layoffs increased by 1% the month, when compared to July 2010. While some legal firms have survived the initial economic downturn, the unemployment rate for Atlanta is still hovering between 9.7% and 10.4%. These recently unemployed lawyers may decide hanging their own shingle in hopes for the best. Benefits may merely include reduced costs of operating a law practice, especially in a legal community where jobs are scarce. By avoiding overhead costs and startup of law practice, lawyers can find unexpected benefits from office sharing. Advantages of attorneys sharing office space include sharing common expenses including maintaining support personnel, as well as providing the phone system and maintaining office equipment. Other benefits include daily contact with other lawyers who may provide a valuable opportunity to network, in addition to the assistance of more experienced lawyers in your law practice down the hall. Subleasing law offices from an existing firm provides an opportunity for these unemployed lawyers (and their legal staff) that appears mutually beneficial in light of the surplus office space available in Georgia. In 2010, Elaine M. Russell created, a service that matches lawyers seeking to sublet space with unoccupied office space at compatible law firms around the country. This law office space and other Atlanta law office may be viewed at Elaine M. Russell is a corporate and business attorney representing clients throughout Georgia and has an office located in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. Notes: The Fulton Daily Report, August 31, 2011. See Also: The Business of Law, Law Firms with Unused Space