Exploring Careers for Pre-Law Students – Legal and Compliance Officers

Legal and Compliance Officers

Are you interested in the legal field but not entirely sure if you want to practice law? Do you have a passion for promoting legality, defining ethics, and finding solutions? If this sounds like you, you may want to look into working on the legal and compliance teams of companies.

What Do They Do?

While Compliance Officers have a multitude of responsibilities, their main priority is monitoring a company to make sure it is following legal standards. This can include overseeing operations and using a management system to ensure ethical practices. Officers can also be asked to perform compliance risk assessments of the company to promote the best balance between efficiency and ethical behavior. Some tasks can include spearheading communication among different departments, reviewing and updating policies, and providing counseling and training on legal ethics to team members.

Compliance Officers have the luxury of being able to work in many different fields. Common fields include investment banking and financial services, but there are also plenty of options in pharmacy, non-governmental organizations, technology, and the environment.

Am I Qualified?

While a law school degree is not required, it can help in securing a job. Officers will, however, need a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field, such as Law, Business, Economics, Finance, or something similar. Officers need a background in law and ethics, and all applicants should have knowledge of the company and its functioning.

Legal and Compliance Officers tend to possess certain skills that separate them from other professions. Here’s a list of some common ones:

  • Strong Reading Comprehension
  • High Analytical Skills
  • Leadership Qualities
  • Strong Moral Standards and Ethics
  • Superior Communication Ability

Want to become a Compliance Officer?

Here are a few steps that you can take to start your career journey:

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in an applicable field
  2. Enroll for an advanced degree, such as a J.D. (Juris Doctor) or a Master’s
  3. Gain some training and experience in the legal field
  4. Acquire relevant certifications: CCEP (Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional), IACCP: (Investment Advisor Certified Compliance Professional), or others
  5. Draft a resume and apply for jobs

If you can see yourself working in ethics and regulation, this may be the career path for you! Reach out to your advisor, or schedule a career coaching meeting with one of our professionals through Handshake to get started on your career journey today!

By Caty Jhong
Caty Jhong