How to get into Law Firm Risk & Compliance

So you want to work in Law Firm Risk & Compliance? You’ve come to the right place!

As specialists in this exciting and fast-growing space, we’re asked over and over again, “how do I get into risk and compliance?” So, here’s our expert advice! While we can’t guarantee these tips will get you the job you want, they should help you along the way.

Explain why you’re interested

To get a Risk & Compliance role at a law firm, you’ll need to convince the hiring manager that you’re sincerely interested in this as a career and that you’re worth investing in as a result. Use the ‘personal profile’ section of your CV to explain why you’re interested in compliance, and convey your commitment to pursuing this as a long-term career. Maybe you want to work in a law firm but not as a lawyer, or maybe you’re keen to put the legal skills you picked up in your degree to use in a commercial in-house role. It might be that you want to feel you’re doing something good in the world, and compliance ticks this box by preventing money laundering, the financing of terrorism, and the proceeds of crime use.

Do your research

In order for a hiring manager to believe that you're genuinely invested in a Risk & Compliance career, you'll need to be able to demonstrate that you really know your stuff. Look up relevant job descriptions and articles about the sector to find out what the day-to-day will be like and make sure you are really keen to take on the role. Get stuck into the Risk & Compliance section of the Law Gazette and Legal Futures and sign up for industry publications such as LexisNexis. Don't forget to evidence this on your CV! Demonstrating a real interest in the space could be the different between getting an interview and not.

Get networking

Follow some Risk & Compliance professionals on LinkedIn, and relevant hashtags such as #AML and #compliance too. Seek our people who are working in the field and check out what they're posting about. Read the articles they post and get involved in their conversations. You could even send a message and ask them questions about what the job is actually like. Immerse yourself in the world of Risk & Compliance!

Work on your transferable skills

Think about what useful skills you could be developing in your current role, or what you could do to improve upon the ones you already have. Then, prepare solid examples of each relevant skill ready for your first Risk & Compliance interview and make sure each is evidenced clearly on your CV. Spend some time looking at job descriptions for the types of roles you’re interested in and look for any crossover in your current duties. Including details like this can really help the hiring manager see your capability for the role you want.

An aspiring compliance professional will need skills such as:

  • Attention to detail
  • Prioritisation and time management 
  • Written and verbal communication 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Critical thinking 
  • Teamwork 
  • Legal research 
  • Legal analysis 

Consider a pay cut

To start a career in Law Firm Risk & Compliance, you’ll have to start at the bottom and work your way up. If you’re already working and a few years into your career, you might need to step down in salary initially. Take a look at your finances and decide if you can take a pay cut. Entry-level roles in this space range from £25,000 to £30,000, depending on experience and location. But don’t worry, it’s very possible to move up to Analyst level roles once you have done six to twelve months in a junior position. Risk & Compliance can be an incredibly lucrative career, with top professionals in this space earning upwards of six figures, so an initial pay cut can be well worth it in the long run.

Get some work experience

If you’re a recent graduate or someone with no experience in compliance, why not visit your local law firm? There may well be one or two firms located on your local high street where you could get some relevant work experience. Start a conversation about their compliance function and ask if you can spend half a day shadowing their COLP.

It’s also a good idea to think about any experience that you already have but not have thought about in the context of Risk & Compliance before. For example, if you worked as a paralegal, did you open and close files, or get involved in AML or conflict checks? If so, make sure this is on your CV.

Do some studying

For as little as £19.99, you can complete an online course with udemy and learn the basics of compliance, AML, data protection, and more. With something low-cost but specific like this on your CV, you’ll be telling law firm hiring managers that you’re ready and willing to learn! If you have the funds available, a self-funded ICA Certificate in Compliance or AML will take your CV to the next level.

While qualifications like these cannot guarantee a job in the field, they’ll definitely help! Use our discount code AJFOX10 for 10% off your ICA course, and get in touch if you’d like some advice on which course is right for you.

Use a great recruiter

As specialists in this field, we’re always looking for bright law graduates with a genuine interest in Law Firm Risk & Compliance. Our friendly team will be happy to help you get your CV in order for a junior role, and advise which roles would suit you best. Give us a call on 0207 117 2542 or email your CV to jobs@ajfoxcompliance.com.

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Posted by: AJ Fox Compliance