The finance sector is always very regulated and structured. Because of the numerous legal complexities involved, lawyers are very highly in demand. This is a major reason why many lawyers choose to head for a career shift and make a living in the finances industry instead. For many other lawyers, finance has also become a secondary career of sorts. Law credentials are highly valued.
Here is a brief look at some of the popular job choices in the finance industry.
In this job, knowledge of law is essential as it involves issues concerning taxation, trust and estate law and so on. In both personal and business finances, the law is a crucial factor. However, many firms will not allow you to offer legal advice to the clients, especially when it comes to the major firms. This is because they want to be free of Any Lawsuits levelled against them by aggrieved clients later.
In case you want to use your legal knowhow in a more concrete manner, then you could work for financial firms that provide services to a wealthy clientele. Your job duties will include tax preparation, taxation advice and also trust related information for them. These firms which offer such customised financial services are usually called family offices.
Here, you collaborate with a law firm and open your own financial planning service, as a practice. For this, you need to get certified as a financial planner first. Also, you need you need to check with your state laws to see if this practice would be legal. Certification varies from state to state, though it is a good idea to take the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in any case as it increases your credibility in the sector.
Job duties include:
- Helping clients create budgets and control expenses
- Saving and wealth management strategies.
- Strategies for retirement plans and estate management.
- Working with investment managers.
Offering legal expertise as a Compliance officer or working in risk management is another popular career step for lawyers interested in finance. For this you need to be a practicing lawyer or even a trained paralegal. Your job duties as part of compliance would include:
- Writing and scrutinising contracts
- Leading or being involved in the lawsuits, either against the firm or filed by the firm.
- Reviewing materials like brochures, advertisement content, products and sales matters in order to make sure that all consumer protection laws are being adhered to.
- Supervising the duties of external legal counsel if recruited by the firm.
Most departments in financial firms have to follow protocol according to which they have to run their work by the legal department first, to avoid any Lawsuits. This form of legal counsel can be in-house or even external.
For example, if a financial firm is releasing any form of information to the public, like brochures or advertisements, you have to pass them through the lawyers. Or if any data is being handed out to clients, it has to pass through a legal review first. This is done to avoid falling into any legal loopholes.
If you have legal expertise, then you will already know what the legal department will want or require from a certain service. Thus, your expertise can save valuable money, time and energy as well. Financial companies are always paranoid about laws and regulations, thus you will have plenty of work. Also, a law degree significantly increases chances for promotion into senior management positions.