Manager of Ethics and Compliance

(Share and discuss thoughts and stories on Dropping out of law school, entering a graduate school program, Career changes, Similar/ related career options)
Anonymous User
Posts: 373143
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Manager of Ethics and Compliance

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:21 pm

I am posting anonymously because some of my coworkers frequent this forum.

One of my friends recently encouraged me to pursue an opening at her company as Sr. Manager of Ethics and Compliance. The company is a huge, multinational household name. I am currently at a firm but feel like I'm burning out quickly. I have been looking for in-house opportunities, but I'm worried that this would impact upward mobility.

I am told this is a good way to get my foot in the door at the company and that it would be easy to segue into any number of other positions within the company, but I'm still leery.

So, does anyone here work in ethics and compliance? If so, do you enjoy it? Do you feel stuck in that role?

Anonymous User
Posts: 373143
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Manager of Ethics and Compliance

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:47 pm

Caveat - this is drawing largely on my experience in a compliance dept. prior to entering law school, the experiences those attorneys shared with me and what they have shared with me since I left for law school (so it includes their feelings on other compliance depts. as they didn't all stay at the same company.) However I was definitely close with many of the lower level compliance attorneys, and had a bit of a menteeish relationship with two senior compliance attorneys, so I don't think the below is overly sugarcoated.

A big question would be what year are you, based on the below it sounds like you're pretty junior. From what I saw, the experience for junior compliance attorneys was rougher, the work was very gruntish and burnout was higher. I would not expect a say second or third year to really be qualified for a senior compliance role, but that may vary heavily between companies. I know our senior roles probably needed closer to five or six years at a firm.

I don't know anyone who was able to transition from compliance to a different role internally without making a second move, although I know a number of attorneys who wanted to take this path. Some were successful but it required moving to a new company and some creative resume marketing. From what I saw (and this is largely from sitting in on meetings where I was filling a very small administrative role) other depts. tended to view compliance as even more of an annoying cost sink then the regular legal dept. I would be especially wary of trying to move from an ethics focused compliance position to a more business oriented role.

The senior compliance attorneys were largely happy with their lives but I would not call them particularly satisfied with their jobs. For most of them compliance was a way to still make a decent salary while working a 9-6 and getting to see their spouses and kids. At the time compliance depts. were also growing significantly, so it was seen as a stable position (except for the junior burnout.) I'm not sure how true that trend still is.

Anonymous User
Posts: 373143
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Manager of Ethics and Compliance

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:29 pm

That was exactly the type of insight I was hoping to get. Thank you!

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