A Goldmine for Law Jobs: The Compliance Industry

It is not an infrequent occurrence to encounter a law student who has completed years of law school and realized that a traditional lawyer job is not for them. What steps can career counselors take to guide those students toward JD Advantage jobs that will both fulfill them and reflect positively on their law school?

A great option is to get students thinking about jobs in the compliance field. A JD is not required for a compliance job but it is preferred so law students have the leg up when applying for entry-level positions. Not only are JDs more likely to get compliance jobs in the first place; when it comes to getting promoted, compliance professionals with JDs have the advantage as well.

What is compliance? In a nutshell, compliance professionals recognize and address issues before they become problems. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners describes the compliance function as “verif[ing] that departments in a company are in compliance with organizational policies and procedures, and that the company is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. If a company is in violation, compliance officers must address the violations and implement and monitor corrective actions.” It’s not difficult to see why a JD is so applicable to a career in compliance.

Having trouble convincing students to look into less traditional job paths?

According to 2015 data from consulting firm Robert Half, a compliance analyst at a mid-sized company can make $62,500 to $84,000 and a chief compliance officer can earn between $141,750 and $197,000.

For students focused more on work-life balance and less on salary, compliance careers are worth a look as well. Compliance professionals’ work day general ends at 5:00 and because they do not bill hours, they are typically not caught working excessive hours on the weekends.

Compliance professionals are needed in virtually every industry so jobs are not lacking. From health care to insurance to financial services, compliance jobs are readily available.

The next time you see a student interested in launching a great career using their JD but not as excited about pursuing a traditional law job, think about directing them toward compliance careers.