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News on the legal jobs front is not great. Recent law graduates have hit the market and Robert Half Legal’s salary guide says some legal jobs trends are not necessarily what you may think. The WSJ Law Blog reports.

In a survey of 200 lawyers among large U.S. firms and corporations, 49% said “it is challenging for their firms or companies to find skilled legal professionals today.” Lawyers with four-to-seven years experience in high demand practice areas are seeing increased demand, while the market for law school graduates and new lawyers is still very tough. Salaries haven’t returned to pre-recession levels, according to the survey.

There’s more work being brought in-house, the survey found, which is putting pressure on outside counsel for competitive pricing and improved service. The most experienced in-house counsel (which the survey pegs as those with 10 to 12 years experience) have a projected 2012 salary range of $130,750-$225,500, while first-year in-house lawyers’ 2012 salaries are seen at $64,000-$98,250.

Surveyed lawyers were asked which area of law would see the most growth in the next three years, and the answer was: General business/commercial law. What is that exactly, you ask? “Lawyers needed to handle an increase in commercial transactions associated with renewed business activity,” the survey says.

(Litigation and healthcare law were second and third, respectively, with all other areas getting less than a 10% response.)

Meanwhile, switching our focus from the economics of law to a similiar cirriculum, the University of Chicago School of Law has started an initiative called “Law and Economics 2.0,” which includes a joint J.D./Ph.D. program. The program will also include a series of internationally focused conferences and collaborations with legal scholars outside the U.S. The school said that faculty are already delving into topics such as the economics of criminal law, economic analysis of the constitutions of emerging markets, climate change, and anonymity on the internet.

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