Compliance vs. Law

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Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:50 am

What are some of the differences between a career in compliance vs. law?

If one is unable to find a legal job after law school is compliance a good career path to get into?

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:26 am

There's a lot of similarities but some important differences. Lawyers for a company interpret federal laws and regulations and issue guidance on those laws as they relate to the company's business. Compliance takes those interpretations/guidance and creates a set of policies and processes for the company to follow to ensure compliance with those interpretations. It then monitors those processes to ensure that they are being followed and improves them as necessary or with any changes to the law or the attorney's interpretations of the law. Compliance is essentially an operations posituon while law is usually a support position.

Not only is compliance a great option for those that can't find legal jobs, it's also a great option for lawyers to enter after a few years of practicing at a big firm. The pay ranges from decent to good, hours are great, there's lots of openings, and your JD and legal experience is actually a real plus. However, while it is common for lawyers to switch successfully to compliance, it is very rare for people to go back to legal practice successfully after working in compliance.

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:49 am

bump

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:46 am

Worked in compliance as a JD for a bit. Depending on what you want, it could be the best of both worlds. The field is stable if not growing with opportunities, with the caveat that most of them are financial institution related. Pay is generally solid. What the job lacks in the salary category (vs Biglaw) it could make up for in its stability (there won't be any Lathaming of a compliance dept. anytime soon) and much less hours. IMHO the best way to do compliance would be one of the JD compliance consulting positions that there were threads about a while ago.

But like the above poster said, if your first post-grad job is compliance, your are shutting the door to being a lawyer. I only know of a couple exceptions to this rule but I would NOT bank on being one of them. The stigma around compliance seems pretty alive and well in some pockets of the legal field

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:59 am

I got lots of friends in compliance. There's a ton of different types of compliance and pay varies and job boringness vaulters as well. Most companies hiring for these positions are big banks and insurance companies. The job hours are strict 40 hour weeks with nothing more. Lots of vacation time. I know people with 5 weeks vacation and 1 week sick time in addition to all the bank holidays. Salary ranges from 55-100k of the people I know.

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:The stigma around compliance seems pretty alive and well in some pockets of the legal field


OP here. What is the stigma that compliance carries in the legal field?

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:23 pm

What are the general qualifications to get a compliance job? Ie, is it possible to go straight from law school to an entry compliance job?

I'm at a UNC/WF/UGA/BAMA and in the top 40% and having a tough time finding anything legal, so I'm trying to find some realistic alternatives.

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The stigma around compliance seems pretty alive and well in some pockets of the legal field


OP here. What is the stigma that compliance carries in the legal field?


I think the stigma relates to starting your career in compliance rather than moving to a compliance role after some legal experience. It basically means that you graduated from law school but never actually practiced law. Also, frequently the people that go into compliance straight out of law school either went to lower ranked schools or struck out from higher ranked schools. On the other hand, I don't think there's any stigma to doing compliance after a few years of practicing law since it's a common exit option for lawyers and you typically come in as an AVP. I wouldn't worry too much about the stigma though--compliance in many ways is a field far more preferable to typical legal practice.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What are the general qualifications to get a compliance job? Ie, is it possible to go straight from law school to an entry compliance job?

I'm at a UNC/WF/UGA/BAMA and in the top 40% and having a tough time finding anything legal, so I'm trying to find some realistic alternatives.


You absolutely can--although it's not an easy process. In fact, you can get entry-level compliance jobs out of undergrad and your JD will actually be a real boost. The places that typically hire for compliance at the entry-level are regulatory consulting firms like the Big 4 and some banks, notably JPMorgan.

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What are the general qualifications to get a compliance job? Ie, is it possible to go straight from law school to an entry compliance job?

I'm at a UNC/WF/UGA/BAMA and in the top 40% and having a tough time finding anything legal, so I'm trying to find some realistic alternatives.


You absolutely can--although it's not an easy process. In fact, you can get entry-level compliance jobs out of undergrad and your JD will actually be a real boost. The places that typically hire for compliance at the entry-level are regulatory consulting firms like the Big 4 and some banks, notably JPMorgan.



Thanks!

Are these entry level jobs usually titled as "Compliance Officer"?

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What are the general qualifications to get a compliance job? Ie, is it possible to go straight from law school to an entry compliance job?

I'm at a UNC/WF/UGA/BAMA and in the top 40% and having a tough time finding anything legal, so I'm trying to find some realistic alternatives.


You absolutely can--although it's not an easy process. In fact, you can get entry-level compliance jobs out of undergrad and your JD will actually be a real boost. The places that typically hire for compliance at the entry-level are regulatory consulting firms like the Big 4 and some banks, notably JPMorgan.



Thanks!

Are these entry level jobs usually titled as "Compliance Officer"?


More often it's "compliance analyst" or the like at a bank if you're coming straight out of law school. At the consulting firms it's just "associate" or "senior associate" for the entry levels.

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:24 pm

Would anyone be able to shed some insight on healthcare compliance?

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:46 pm

What are the opportunities after a few years at one of the consulting firms in a regulatory role? Is it possible to switch into another area of consulting? Or, if you work your way up and network, is it possible to go into management at a bank on a COO or CCO track?

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:41 pm

Bump.

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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:18 am

Is this a reasonable exit option for a biglaw associate with internal investigation/white collar experience (e.g. FCPA)?

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LadyProspero
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Re: Compliance vs. Law

Postby LadyProspero » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:47 am

Currently work one of these entry level compliance jobs at a bank. My title is BSA Compliance Specialist. Smaller bank, department of 6 including my boss who is SVP and has a JD (she's the Compliance/BSA Officer.)

Anyway, I've been doing this job since August 2013. So OP, feel free to PM me with questions.

Also - BSA is the Bank Secrecy Act. Basically, I ensure compliance with this act and also certain provisions of the Patriot Act. However, at my level it's mostly grunt work, nothing that would require a JD at my level, obviously.

Not planning on staying in compliance though, just was a job offered to me post-graduation (I was already working at the bank as a teller) so I took it to get some law-related experience.

EDIT: Post undergrad. I'm applying for law school for C/O 2018.




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