Time to Panic: Fewer Lawyers in D.C.
The D.C. Council only had one simple request for Chief Financial Officer Nat Gandhi: show us the money.
The council was counting on big increased revenue projections from Gandhi to fund a budget wish list. Shockingly, Gandhi's projected revenue increase of $77 million for fiscal 2012 is not good enough to make the council happy. That means, for the moment, no extra money to hire new cops, fund school nurses, or pay for permanent housing for the homeless.
But what's really concerning is Gandhi's announcement that there are—brace yourself—fewer lawyers in the District than in days past.
Under a section titled "Risk and Uncertainties" in a letter to Mayor Vince Gray and Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown, Gandhi writes:
"Another concern is there are fewer lawyers working in the District in April 2011 than last year and fewer than 3 years ago when the recession began. Law firms are key tenants in the commercial office market that is supporting the commercial property values and contributing the most to the increase in deed taxes. Unless this sector rebounds, it is not clear who will occupy new office space."
Nooooo! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2010, 28,390 lawyers worked in the District. Gandhi had a different count: In 2008, he told reporters this morning, there were about 36,000 lawyers working in D.C. Now, there are only 32,000. Someone call Warren Zevon!
Photo by walknboston via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0