For many legal professionals, pursuing a career in compliance offers high-powered opportunities in a fast-paced environment. Compliance spans many fields, so knowing the available options is essential. Gain a better understanding of the opportunities that may await in this guide to eight fields to consider in compliance.
Business and Corporations
Corporate compliance officers are in higher demand than ever before, due to increasingly complex federal legislation. Legal experts in this field often have roles such as Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), where they specialize in fraud detection, regulatory requirements, and industry guidelines. They generally have executive positions, and they work closely with fellow executives to improve transparency and ensure a system of checks and balances within the organization.
To become a corporate compliance officer, candidates typically need an advanced law degree, such an LL.M. degree, along with compliance certification or experience. Candidates should also have either advanced education or experience in business or finance, along with strong leadership and management skills.
Compliance professionals who work for federal, state, or local governments must have comprehensive knowledge of Service Contract Labor Standards, cybersecurity regulations, and governmental selection policies. All specialists in this field generally need to maintain a dialogue with the appropriate agencies and regulatory bodies in order to give strategic counsel.
To work in compliance at the government level, candidates should have an LL.M. degree, along with compliance certification. Most agencies prefer that candidates have a comprehensive understanding of risk management, along with strong analytical skills.
Legal professionals who specialize in non-governmental organization (NGO) compliance often advise either for-profit companies or charitable organizations on federal compliance statutes. Those who work with NGOs must have a high-level of understanding of all relevant operational, financial, and employment laws in the foreign countries in question.
To work in this field, candidates generally need an LL.M. degree and either certification or experience in compliance. They must also have experience in risk management and fluency in relevant foreign languages.
Compliance experts who specialize in regulatory industries often work in the financial sector, which is subject to many federal regulations. Executives in this field handle risk assessment and management, and they may work closely with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).
To become a financial compliance specialist, candidates generally need an advanced law degree and a compliance certificate or extensive experience in the field. Since the federal government has applied or adjusted numerous regulations within the financial sector in recent years, specialists in this field must have current knowledge of Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR), the USA PATRIOT Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other relevant statutes.
Legal experts who work in health care compliance often serve as in-house counsel for businesses in the health care sector, such as medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies. Health care compliance executives generally oversee policy, training, and education efforts and monitor all federal, state, and industry compliance guidelines. They also counsel companies on federal privacy laws, offer strategic help during product development and manage document retention and preservation procedures.
To work in the field of health care compliance, candidates must have an LL.M. degree and prior experience working in compliance. Strong analytical skills and collaborative abilities are also essential. In addition, candidates should have in-depth knowledge of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations as well as federal health care and privacy laws.
Those who work in health care law compliance often serve as compliance officers for hospital networks and companies in the medical or health care sector. In this role, compliance officers audit and manage risk, develop and monitor organization-wide compliance plans, and offer compliance training related to health care law. To do this, they need in-depth knowledge of how Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare, Medicaid, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) statutes apply to the organization.
To become a health care law compliance officer, candidates typically need an advanced law degree with certification in compliance. They should also have a comprehensive understanding of current federal and state health care laws as well as knowledge of how potential changes to these laws may affect the company.
Legal professionals who work in human resource (HR) compliance do not generally engage in traditional HR tasks, such as interviewing or recruiting. Instead, they work with HR colleagues to develop and implement policies that take federal and state compliance issues into account. Many have strategic or advisory roles, which require them to work closely with an executive team. Some HR compliance specialists may also develop affirmative action plans, handle compliance reporting to government entities, and advise on best practices related to HR compliance.
To take on a managerial role in HR compliance, candidates typically need a master’s degree and experience in HR. They must also have experience in risk management and a thorough understanding of U.S. labor or employment laws and how these statutes apply to the employer. In addition, they should have comprehensive knowledge of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination for protected classes.
Attorneys who specialize in employment law may work in-house in an employment law executive role, or they may work for a larger firm, where they give counsel to clients as needed. No matter where they work, attorneys who specialize in employment law compliance must understand how relevant federal legislation, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), applies to the company and its pay structure. Attorneys in this field must also have a comprehensive understanding of applicable regulations from the state’s department of labor and any legislation that applies to employment within the specific industry.
To become an employment law compliance attorney, candidates should have an advanced law degree, along with more than a decade of practicing employment law. Candidates should typically expect to fill strategic roles as they offer legal counsel, thought leadership, and collaboration with HR colleagues.
With so many opportunities to consider in the compliance field, many LL.M. degree holders and students are pursuing the unique specialty. Visit USC Gould School of Law online to learn more about how you can pursue a Compliance Certificate concurrently with an online LL.M. degree.
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