The Perks of Attending Conferences

Chris Salemme2nd Lieutenant, U.S. Army J.D. Candidate, 2017 Wake Forest University School of Law

Chris Salemme
2nd Lieutenant, U.S. Army
J.D. Candidate, 2017
Wake Forest University School of Law

Attending legal conferences can be daunting especially if you’re attending your first one, or don’t know anyone attending the event. It can also be quite difficult to plan if the event is being held out of state. Those feelings are understandable; however, conferences are a great way to gain insight into your own career path and network with the legal experts. It also demonstrates to professionals how interested you are about the specific practice area featured at the conference.

Just read this real-life experience from a WFU Law 1L, Chris Salemme, on his decision to attend the Georgetown Law Symposium this past February and how it benefited his career:

            On Monday, February 9, I read in the Office of Career & Professional Development 1L Newsletter about an upcoming symposium at Georgetown Law entitled “Trial and Terrorism: The Implications of Trying National Security Cases in Article III Courts.” This program immediately caught my eye because, given my career goal of becoming an Army Judge Advocate, I have a strong interest in national security law issues. The one caveat: the symposium was on Wednesday of that week, less than 48 hours away. I thought it over, met with my career advisor, and, with some hesitation, made the last minute decision to book a flight to Washington, DC to take advantage of this opportunity.

            I am glad I did. The symposium featured three panels of federal judges, US Attorneys, professors, defense attorneys, and other experts in the field. They discussed Miranda rights for terror suspects, special administrative measures (SAMs) in pretrial confinement, race-based targeting, interrogations, and more. Some of the judges had presided over notable terrorism cases such as those of Ahmed Ghailani and Zacarias Moussaoui, giving them great insight on this area of law. Additionally, I was seated at a table with the chief and deputy chief of operational law for the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps and was able to gain valuable advice from them on pursuing a career in law and the military.

            While it was a split-second decision to attend this symposium, it had greatly exceeded my expectations and I would undoubtedly go again. Reading about issues that are important to you can be helpful, but actually listening to experts discuss and debate these issues is incredibly more informative. I strongly encourage my peers to seek out such opportunities for issues they are interested in and I am confident that they will find them as rewarding as I found the Georgetown symposium. 

To find out about other upcoming legal conferences or events that might be of interest to you, be sure to check the weekly OCPD student newsletters as well as the WFU law school event calendar.

Why All That Interview Research?

Chambers Associate spoke with dozens of legal recruiters and employers each year during their research for their online OCI guide. Among other things, these recruiters and employers told them what they look for in prospective hires. Check out what they heard from employers and hiring partners about interview preparation about interview preparation and research:

“Law students really need to bust their gut doing homework on firms. You need to know about its practices, its history, its strengths and weaknesses. It’s also increasingly important to be aware of a firm’s business ideas.”

“Prepare. It seems like very old-fashioned advice, but I’m not sure that people entirely understand what preparing means. It takes more time than some students set aside for it. Practicing to get over the jitters is good, but what’s more important is thinking through what you’ve done in your life to understand what skills you have that can contribute to being a lawyer. When we sense that somebody’s done enough thinking about themselves to know which part of their experience to talk about at an interview, we’re prone to think they’re analytical and will be able to perform the tasks required of them.”

“Show a serious interest in what the firm does, and what the people you are speaking to do.”

“Know the firm you’re talking to. Knowing your audience will carry you far in this profession – it’ll show that you’ve put some thought and effort into the place you’re interested in working.”

“During interviews candidates should have good questions about the firm. Not just questions to which the answers are on our website, but things that show they have done their homework.”

With these tips in mind for your next legal interview, you will definitely have the research part mastered. Questions about how to go about your interview research? Make an appointment with your career advisor today so you can be prepared for tomorrow.

The Law Student Holiday Count Down

At this moment, every successful law school student is hunkered down in preparation for final exams. Library caddies, study rooms, and hallway chairs are all full of studious individuals, hoping to pass their upcoming exams with flying colors. But during this time of year, don’t let those tests consume you. Beyond exams, focus on a series of other strategies that can help you build your professional network and launch your career. At a minimum, look to accomplishing the following five activities the next weeks following exams as a boost to your network and career path:

1. Shortly after exams, invest time sending holiday wishes to every professional and prospective employer you encountered during the previous 12 months. For more casual acquaintances, emailing those wishes can be perfectly appropriate. In the case of a prospective employer, past employer, or alumni of the school, consider sending a holiday card with a brief personal note. Just writing one or two lines will help you become memorable, and being remembered in a positive light is exactly what every student should want.

2. During the winter break, you may return to a city where you worked as a summer associate or intern just a few months ago. Use the upcoming holiday break to reconnect face to face with contacts you established in that city, especially contacts with potential employers. On more than one occasion, a quick coffee or lunch has revealed a previously unknown job opportunity.

3. In addition to meeting with prospective employers, use the winter break to build your professional networks. The holiday season can be the perfect time to reconnect with peers who have gone off in other directions. Search out college classmates who have headed to business school. Eventually and inevitably business people will need lawyers and vice versa. Use this holiday season to start creating those relationships.

4. In many cases, many organizations experience their quietest time of year between Christmas Day and New Years. That means key decision-makers, who have chosen not to take a vacation, have more time than usual to meet with students who have expressed an interest in a particular company or industry. Take a risk this holiday season. Reach out to every prospective employer with whom you have an interest and don’t stop until you’ve scheduled at least one meeting during the holiday break.

5. Spend some focused time during the winter break setting SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-limited) goals for the upcoming year. Begin by asking a series of questions, including: Who do you need to know? Who can help you make a connection with a potential key employer? How should you best reach out to that person or persons? When? And what specifically should you say to that individual or ask of them? Remember, you never accomplish a goal that you don’t set.

How Blogging Can Boost Your Career

There’s no better way for a law student to network with leading lawyers, alums and potential employers than blogging (or also called ‘blawgging’ when referencing legal blogs). In addition, there’s no better way for a law student to demonstrate their passion for and desire to get into a niche area of the law than blogging.  Writing frequently helps to improve your expression, and the blog format means you learn to explain things in a clearer, more concise manner. Being able to explain something simply and accurately is the best way to be certain you and others understand it.

Then there are the career benefits. Blogging is particularly helpful if you are interested in a specific area of the law where opportunities are few and competition for particular positions can be somewhat intense. When you have no prior experience, all you can do is tell your prospective employer how interested you are in a particular practice area or legal niche. This typically involves saying, “Oh yes, I’m really interested in this area of the law,” and then worrying whether you sounded too enthusiastic or not enthusiastic enough when you said it.

If you had a blog, you could tell the employer that you’ve been blogging about that particular area of practice for some time, thus proving both your knowledge and your interest, particularly since you’ve been writing the blog in your free time. Later on when you are a practicing lawyer, a blog is can be helpful for attracting clients, motivating you to keep up to date with new developments in your practice area and networking with fellow practitioners, particularly as more and more lawyers are reading law blogs as a way of keeping up to date. Who knows, you may even end up a bit of an authority on your specific blogging area.

There are plenty of free blogging platforms on the Internet today, but WordPress and Blogger are the most commonly used. There are plenty of custom templates to choose from, but if you’re not feeling tech-savvy, seek out a tech-savvy friend to help you with setting up an account or check out the links below. Then, choose a central theme that interests you and be sure that it is one that you are passionate about. A blog takes a lot of a commitment, so your chosen topic area has to be something you won’t tire of after one or two posts. Maybe you want to write about your experiences during your summer clerkship, or maybe you want to be more academic and write about a specific area of the law – it’s your call. Need more tips and advice? Check out the links below which will help guide you through the setup and blogging process:

No Offer? Now What?

Steps to Take When You Have Not Yet Received an Offer from Your Summer Employer

If you did not get a job offer from your summer employer, you are probably wondering, ‘what should I do next?’ Students who worked with an employer this past summer can find themselves in the uncomfortable position of returning to school without a job offer.

Among the various reasons why students do not receive an offer from an employer, three common reasons include: financial constraints from the employer, work performance issues, and not being a good “fit” with the company. Sometimes, students who don’t receive offers because they already decided that the employer wasn’t the right fit are happy to seek other employment. However, due to the fact that future employers are likely to inquire about whether an offer was received from a prior employer, a student must be prepared to deal with that issue.

1. Make an Appointment with a Career Counselor - Run, don’t walk to your career services office and discuss your situation in detail. After hearing about your summer experiences, your counselor can point you in the right direction and let you know what to do next.

2. Find Out the Reason for the Non-Offer - You must take charge in finding out the reason for the non-offer with the employer by contacting the recruiting coordinator, your mentor, and/or the employer’s hiring partner. Ask for valuable feedback regarding points you need to work on, which projects were below average, and whether there were certain projects that turned out well. Then, you can then contact the attorneys and staff with whom you worked on the projects that turned out well and see if they will serve as a reference for you. Having great references is always a plus. However, if the employer tells you that you were not the best “fit,” simply ask for some additional information that led them to that decision and outcome. Having this essential information on hand will be beneficial when you have to answer questions on your summer experience with prospective employers.

3. It’s Time to Rethink Your Career Objectives - If you were unable to receive an offer from your summer employer, now is a great time to rethink your career goals and aspirations and possibly modify them. What parts of your summer experience did you like in particular and why? What areas of the summer experience did you not enjoy and why? Do you think there is a different practice area or work environment that would better suit your passions, personality and /or work habits? Flesh out these questions with your career advisor today by making an appointment to meet.

4. Obtain Important Information from Your Summer Employer - It’ is time to contact your summer employer and ask them a few important questions. Find out what they will say if they are contacted about you by a prospective employer. Inquire who at the firm would be able to be a great reference for you to utilize in the future. It is vital that you have at least one or two attorneys in the firm who will speak highly of you and your work. Summer employers may even provide some assistance in your job search efforts. This is especially true with larger firms that have a larger amount of contacts available. They may be more than willing to put you in touch with the right people, especially if your non-offer was for financial or fit reasons.

5. How to Handle Interviews Going Forward - In preparing for interviews from this point forward, you must decide on how you will answer questions regarding your summer experience. This could include the big question about whether you received an offer as well as questions relating to why you did not receive an offer. If possible, try to bypass those questions by first explaining that while you enjoyed your summer (and support this statement with reasons why), your summer experience has taught you that you are more interested in other law practice areas. By explaining your new focus and new career goals, prospective employers may not think to inquire about whether you received an offer.

However, if prospective employers do inquire about whether or not you received an offer, be sure to always be positive when reflecting on your summer experiences and your skills. When asked, provide the reason for the non-offer, but do not spend a large portion of time on this point. Once explained, continue the process by providing great references, writing samples, and any other knowledge and illustrations of how you have the abilities to succeed at their company. The goal is to always respond to the questions conducted in the interview, but to keep the interview exchange on a positive side.

Are You Ready for the Legal Interview?

When it comes to interviews, there are certain imperative steps you must always take to ensure you have done your best. It seems to go without saying but you obviously must dress professionally and be on-time. However, making a first impression takes quite a bit of preparation and practice. It is a large part of the interview process as a whole. Whether you are going to be experiencing your first legal interview during OCI this fall, or if you’ve been through several interviews in the past, be sure you always keep these key points in mind:

1. Really Research the Employer – You’ve definitely heard this one before. But only because it is one of the most important points! Doing research beforehand on the company in which you are interviewing is a must. The employer needs to know that you’ve not only heard of them (or took initiative to learn about them), but that they were your first choice for a job. There are a ton of resources online for doing reconnaissance (Glassdoor.com, LinkedIn, Martindale-Hubbell, Vault.com, Bloomberg.com and articles written for legal industry periodicals, as well as bio pages for the partners or staff you’re meeting on the company web site.) Also, include summer evaluations in Symplicity.

2. Understand the Role in the Organization or Law Firm – If you’re interviewing for an associate position (or even an internship), make an effort to really understand what the employer’s expectations are of you. This means either dissecting the job description, or if there isn’t one, doing enough research to find out what the role really requires.

3. Know Your Career Narrative Inside Out – Your legal resume (or perhaps even a contact) could have landed you the interview, but the real challenge begins now. About 10%-20% of the interview will be focused on confirming your resume and that you know what you’re talking about from a “technical” standpoint. The remaining 80%-90% will be about finding out if you’re the right fit for the position or culture.

In addition to the typical legal interview questions you would expect to receive (see below), you’re also going to have to craft some interview stories. These are stories that have longer answers which you would give to behavioral questions. For example: “Tell me about a time you had multiple, time-sensitive projects due — how did you prioritize and what was the result?” The interviewer is likely to be looking for your prowess in several specific competencies or skills such as time management, negotiation skills, or whether you work well under pressure. Stick to a cohesive and compelling story that highlights your skills and abilities and you will have a great, engaging answer for the employer.

4. Preparing for the Employer’s Interview Questions – Before your interview, research commonly asked questions and really understand and practice how you’ll answer them. Obviously, every interview will be different, but if you can articulately and thoughtfully answer the questions below (and also have several “interview stories” in your back pocket), you’ll likely land the position:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you decide to go to law school?
  • Why did you choose your law school?
  • Is your GPA an accurate reflection of your abilities? Why or why not?
  • What do you know about our firm?
  • What area of law most interests you?
  • Tell me about a major accomplishment.
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • What interests you most about the legal system?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How has your education and experience prepared you for the practice of law?
  • Describe a professional failure and how you handled it.
  • Why should we hire you over other candidates?
  • What questions do you have?

5. Always Ask Questions – At the end of the interview, it’s important that you ask questions. It shows not only that you were prepared and listened thoroughly to your interviewer, but also that you are seriously interested in the organization or firm. For more information on this topic, check out biginterview.com’s Top 12 Best Questions to Ask at the End of the Job Interview article.

6. Don’t Forget Your Thank-you Note – Good old P’s & Q’s. Everyone loves them! The thank you note is an important little piece of the interview process, and an art form unto itself. After every job interview, it’s critical to follow up with a thank you note to the person that interviewed you. Thank you notes are not just common courtesy; they are essential elements of the interviewing process. For info on how to structure a great thank you check out: Job Interview Thank You Notes 101.

In the end, your resume contains credentials that are only a small piece of the whole interview process. Making the strongest possible impression when you’re face-to-face with potential employers is essential. Keeping in mind all these tips will surely prepare and help you with all your future interviews. Good luck!

The Legal Resume: Back to Basics

Can you believe it? Fall is right around the corner! Say goodbye to warm temperatures, flip-flops, and trips to the beach and say hello to new textbooks, cooler weather, and a bit of polish for your resume. Resume work already? Of course! Rising 2Ls and 3Ls: the summer and long-term job search begins as soon as you return to campus (if not before). In addition to starting to send out resumes on your own, you will begin bidding for Fall On-Campus Interviews and Resume Collects (if you have not already) and you will want your resume to earn you some call backs and second interviews. Incoming 1L students: you’ll realize quickly that the legal resume differs from the typical business resume. A legal resume has a unique structure and format, along with its own set of rules and guidelines. This subject and more will be explained in detail as you progress through the Professional Development class, so no need worry about drafting your legal resume just yet.

As you begin the new job search, as well as throughout your career, keep in mind these important general tips for your application materials:

Focus on the employer’s needs
The legal resume is a unique marketing and sales tool that summarizes who you are and what you have to offer. It communicates strengths and distinguishes you from other applicants and also provides a sample work product characterized by quality and clarity. You can prove that you think like a lawyer by creating a resume in which you are an advocate for yourself.

Sometimes students draft cover letters that focus on their own goals (i.e. “I hope to gain meaningful experience from this internship”). Instead, do just the opposite. Close your eyes and picture the overworked hiring partners or recruiting personnel reading your resume. Their company has approved a new hire and they are sifting through stacks of resumes. What do they want? Someone intelligent, who has job-specific legal experience, gets along well with everyone else in the office, and can dive right in to their work, right? Make your resume reflect those needs by highlighting your work quality and experience. Such things that can demonstrate this are: Team projects, academic projects, writing samples, clinics, and volunteer work.

Make it pleasant to read
The legal community is conservative and expects a traditional resume. An employer is likely to spend less than 30 seconds on his or her initial review of your resume; therefore, a readable form is crucial. It can help the reader smoothly and quickly capture important information at the first glance. Make sure that you use underlining, italics, capital letters, etc. consistently from one position to another and one section of the resume to another. Your ability to do so shows your attention to detail.

Text that is jammed together, tiny margins, and distracting boxes and lines all make for an untidy, not aesthetically pleasing resume. The aforementioned tired hiring partners want to pick resumes out of the pile that are easy to read. Do this by limiting your resume to one page and pick a traditional font such as Times Roman, Arial or Garamond. With font size, choose 10 or 11 point; below that, you are risking someone not bothering to review your resume due to poor readability.

It’s not just a summary of experience
The purpose of your resume is to get you called in for an interview, so focus on marketing to the employer. Using excellent action verbs when you begin your phrases in your work descriptions can help you market yourself to the employer. Avoid passive voice, as well as the phrase “responsible for.” Briefly explain awards or scholarships, instead of just listing the name of the scholarship or award. Quantify where possible; for example, “Organized school wide fundraising auction. Chaired committee of 13 students; raised $7,500 for public interest scholarship.” Employers like hard data and facts. And keep in mind that the experience section of your resume can include clinical work, internships/externships, research assistantships, volunteer work, etc., as well as paid positions.

The biggest (avoidable!) mistake
Typos and grammatical errors are NEVER ok. Never. We’ll stop telling you this when we stop seeing them. Employers are likely to immediately eliminate you from consideration. They consider your resume your first work product, so make sure you spend time re-reading it – again and again. And when you think you’ve finished proofreading it, read it over again. Afterward, get a friend or faculty member to proofread it. Finally, email it or bring it in to your career advisor for a final look over. You can never have too many eyes looking at your resume when it comes to hunting for typos and grammatical errors.

What to learn more great resume tips? Check out our complete list of legal resume “Do’s and Don’ts”, advice, lists of action words, resume samples, and more in our Career Planning Guide. You can find it on Symplicity in the Document Library and on the Students section of our web site, in the Resource Center. Make use of this publication as your ultimate career guide and refer to it often during your time here at law school. It is a great resource to add to your law school toolbox!

What If I Get Stuck in the Wrong Kind of Practice?

Students sometimes assume that, by accepting a summer clerkship/internship in a specific practice or for a certain type of employer, they are committing themselves to developing a career in that area. This can be a big cause for concern because early in the process (and sometimes even later on in the process), many students and new lawyers are uncertain about their interests and do not yet know what types of practice they would like to develop. This assumption of being stuck in a certain area of law can be an even bigger stressor if you accept a job or internship, and then realize that you may have made a poor choice.

Imagine, for example, that you enjoyed your Criminal Law or Criminal Procedure class so much that you have accepted a summer position in the felony division of the prosecuting attorney’s office. It would seem that you’ve landed the ideal job. Your supervising attorney is attentive; your assignments are challenging; and the attorneys take you to meetings and court as much as possible. On the other hand, you’ve learned that there is a big difference between analyzing fact patterns in a case book and working with real victims and serious crimes. Real-world practice is very different from academic study, and it may be that criminal law is not right for you. But all is not lost!

If you find yourself in an area of law that is unappealing, just remember that your employment setting is temporary and that you can still gain important experience at that job or internship. Professionalism, social skills, and various law-related skills such as writing briefs and working with clients will all prove beneficial later on, once mastered. Dedicate the time at that position and use it as a learning tool and eventual springboard from which to jump from and land into a better position later down the road.  In addition, keep in mind the valuable connections you’re making with coworkers and your supervising attorney. They may be able to introduce you to someone practicing in a field that’s a better fit for you.

Plenty of lawyers change jobs after learning more about themselves and their responses to difference practice areas and environments. You will consistently evolve as a law student and practicing lawyer, so your practice area preferences may also change. You certainly do not have to change the world after law school if you don’t want to, and you don’t have to practice a certain kind of law. Simply take an opportunity to observe what works for you and what doesn’t and you will soon find what appeals to you. Following your passions and strengths as a lawyer will ultimately have you on the road to a satisfying career.

If you have any questions or concerns about your desired career path or need help finding where to start, be sure to book an appointment with your career advisor. They are there to help guide you along your path and answer any questions that should arise on your journey through law school and beyond.

10 Keys to Summer Success

With final exams ending and the graduation season winding down, interns, summer associates and new hires have begun to enter the world of work. National surveys consistently report that these junior workers possess loads of technical skills. Too often what they lack are a series of practical skills that can help them quickly distinguish themselves in the workplace, including: the ability to work as a team member; the ability to organize, plan and prioritize work; and the ability to communicate with a wide variety of internal and external clients in a manner that leaves those clients feeling confident and assured.

The 2014 national survey of employers conducted by NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) confirms what many have long known: employers increasingly seek summer associates, interns and new hires who demonstrate a strong ability to work with others—including peers and senior employees as well as clients and customers—and who can plan, organize and complete their daily work without external supervision. With schools graduating so many talented students, today’s employers rarely view strong technical skills as a differentiator. Rather, possessing technical skills simply “meets expectations.”

If you are an intern, summer associate or new hire, here are ten “Things You Need To Know” to distinguish yourself in the hearts and minds of your employer.

1. Make sure your supervisor always looks good.

This means: no surprises. Keep your supervisor informed of the status of projects, especially delays and significant problems that you encounter. Turn in projects that are client-ready, i.e., free of typos and stains or stray markings. If you become aware of some inner-office or client communication that could affect your supervisor, make your supervisor aware of it.

2. Dress with respect.

The attire you wear to the office creates an impression that extends to your supervisor. Always dress in a manner that reflects well upon both of you. Your attire should also demonstrate respect for any clients with whom you’ll interact. If you have opted to work for a more conservative organization—say, a white-shoe law firm or a state legislature—you should dress in a more conservative manner, which likely means suits for both men and women. If you have taken a job in a fashion-forward organization, you should dress in a manner that communicates your understanding and appreciation of fashion.

At a very minimum, avoid: dirty, stained, torn or frayed clothing; any clothing bearing words or images that others might find offensive; any clothing that reveals cleavage, excessive chest hair, whale tails and plumbers cracks.

3. Act professionally.

Everything you do in conjunction with work should communicate your respect for internal and external clients. Before you walk into an office building, remove your ear buds. Acknowledge other people you know in the building lobby. Whenever you board an elevator, recognize any coworkers you encounter. As you walk to or from your workstation or office, greet others you meet along the way. First thing in the morning, check in with your supervisor. Do another check-in at the end of your workday.

Be punctual to all meetings. This demonstrates your respect for others’ time. Know your supervisor’s expectations regarding smartphone use during meetings. If he or she expects your complete attention, before any meeting begins, turn your smartphone off.

4. Complete projects on time.

Tackle every assignment you receive in a timely manner. Should you experience unexpected delays or interruptions, do not withhold this information from your supervisor until the very last moment. Remember, no surprises. Inform your supervisor as quickly as possible. This allows him or her to adequately manage the expectations of important internal and external clients.

Inevitably, you will require a coworker’s input to complete a project. Should your coworker fail to perform in a timely manner, in most cases you’ll remain responsible. Telling a supervisor, “I emailed Jim in marketing for his input, but he hasn’t gotten back to me,” won’t cut it. Find ways to work with others and to complete projects on time.

Read Points #5-10. Article Written by Mary Crane, Author of “Starting Work for Interns, New Hire, and Summer Associates: 100 Things You Need to Know.”

You can also view a short video with Mary Crane on advice about starting your internship.

 

The Growing Field of Compliance: A Recap on our Lunch & Learn with Ben Wright

In our recent Lunch & Learn, WF Law alum Ben Wright (’05) discussed legal compliance and the different tracks to a career in this popular and growing field. For students interested in a career at the intersection of business and law, a position in compliance offers an excellent opportunity. At the same time, the compliance field also holds opportunities for those students who enjoy detailed work researching legislation and policy.

Most corporations, banks, and other entities did not have internal compliance groups until around the early 2000s, following the collapse of Enron and the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. After SOX, employers began to establish divisions solely focused on internal audits and ensuring compliance with various federal, state, local, and trade regulations. This work requires keeping up with a vast amount of regulations, some of which can vary county by county. Corporate compliance divisions deal not just with federal and state law, but also independent regulatory boards.  For example, Mr. Wright’s work in the field of prescription drug regulation involves ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local laws (some of which can vary county by county), as well as regulations from state Boards of Pharmacy and state Departments of Insurance.

With this vast (and growing) number of regulations, it is almost impossible for any corporation to ensure compliance with every single one. These regulations also change quite frequently. Having an in-house compliance team is vital in order to keep up with the ever changing regulations. Compliance work generally appeals to two types of personalities – those with a business mindset, who enjoy balancing legal and business considerations, and those who enjoy detailed research.

If you are interested in the intersection of law and business and are comfortable “putting out fires” (i.e. working in a fast-paced environment, balancing multiple interests, multi-tasking, etc.), then a management position in compliance could be a good fit.  Compliance positions often require employees to have one leg in business and one leg in law: It is important to know the law so that you can advise the company appropriately; however, it is also essential to understand how certain events can impact a business and how certain initiatives can be successfully implemented. For the compliance jobs that focus on keeping up with regulations, one would have to enjoy a lot of detailed work, such as spending a lot of time reviewing policy material and directives.

The two biggest areas of growth for compliance careers are currently banking and healthcare – both highly regulated industries. If you’re interested in a job in compliance, Mr. Wright made several recommendations:

(1) Get subject-matter expertise first. Many of the compliance officers Mr. Wright works with were experienced healthcare attorneys. You probably will not get hired straight out of law school into a management role in compliance, so it is important to gain experience for 2-3 years first.

(2) If you want to go into compliance work straight out of law school, look to the business side. Companies might hire you on the business side, at an “analyst” or “specialist” level, allowing you to work your way up.

(3) Robert Half Legal (a staffing agency) has begun to contract with some companies for compliance work and is starting to develop a niche market.


Here are some additional ideas for exploring a career in compliance
:

(1) If you want to beef up your resume, the Healthcare Compliance Association offers a certification program [also has an online jobs board]. More information is available here: https://www.hcca-info.org/

(2) If you’re interested in the financial industry, look for job titles such as “compliance analyst,”  “loss mitigation specialist” or “regulatory assessment” – many large banks and financial institutions will list opportunities in compliance on their websites (e.g. Goldman Sachs)