Jobless rate reaches 7.6 percent

The economy continues on its downward spiral, according to the Department of Labor, as it announced more unpleasant employment statistics on Friday. Last month, 598,000 jobs were lost and the national unemployment rate reached 7.6 percent. The highest unemployment rate since 1992, 11.6 million Americans are now looking for work.

Since the recession officially began in December 2007, a total of 3.6 million people have lost their jobs, and the legal profession--both in-house and outside--has not been spared.

In January, 1,510 employees were laid off from top law firms, according to the BigLaw Layoff Tracker at lawshucks.com.

Several in-house lawyers, including the general counsel, were cut from Merrill Lynch after it joined with Bank of America. And following its merger with Pfizer, drugmaker Wyeth is expected to pare down its legal department as well.

Assistant Editor

Christopher Danzig

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