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LRC Career & Practice Collection: Compliance

This LibGuide is an overview of a new collection at the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law Legal Research Center.



                  Compliance Resource Guide

This career guide provides examples of resources and opportunities for law students and graduates pursuing careers in compliance. Please contact the CSO with any additional resources to supplement this compilation. 



What is Compliance and Why the Buzz?


Regulatory compliance is an organization’s adherence to laws and regulations relevant to its business. Violations of compliance regulations often result in legal penalties including federal fines. Examples of specific types of compliance include healthcare compliance, financial compliance, securities compliance, tax compliance, college athletic compliance, global compliance, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance, and HR compliance. New laws and regulations, globalization of business, and vigorous government enforcement have created a boom in compliance positions. There is tremendous potential for growth in this area, as there is a great need for compliance professionals. An increasing number of compliance officers have law degrees. Compliance attorneys typically write policies, monitor controls, review and analyze new regulations, respond to regulatory inquiries in writing, and provide guidance to business units.


Compliance Industries & Hot Topics


Healthcare:  Compliance positions are available in hospitals, other healthcare provider organizations, HMOs, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, trade and professional associations, accreditation agencies, therapy centers, and consulting firms. Issues include risk management, data security, audits, research compliance, ethical leadership, cyber security, HIPAA and patient privacy, HITECH and the Omnibus Rule, vendor relations, Medicare compliance, conflicts of interest, and patient rights.


Corporate/Financial Services/HR: Compliance positions are available within small, mid-size and large corporations, banks, management consulting firms, accounting firms, insurance companies (e.g., Beasley Group), global trading firms, industry trade associations, wealth management firms, brokerage firms, investment firms, hedge funds, and other types of financial institutions.  Issues include anti-money laundering (AML), cybersecurity, data privacy, GDPR, data breach, Dodd-Frank, corporate governance, ethics, blockchain, FCPA enforcement actions, utilities and energy compliance, due diligence, anti-corruption programs, and HR compliance (including risk assessment and management, employee benefits compliance, reporting and investigating company policy violations, and whistleblower reporting).


Higher Education: Compliance positions are available within colleges, universities, higher education associations, and research organizations. Drexel University has a Corporate Compliance and Privacy Office, and the current Executive Director of the office has a JD. Issues include Title IX compliance (responding to claims of sexual harassment/misconduct), Clery Act, accreditation, NCAA compliance, governance, environmental health and safety, discrimination and affirmative action, copyright and fair use, Higher Education Act – financial assistance and required disclosures, immigration/international students, privacy of student records, disability accommodations, campus safety, and technology transfer.


Public Sector Compliance:  Government compliance officers are typically responsible for writing regulations, monitoring compliance of regulated entities, conducting investigations, and leading enforcement efforts.  Job titles include Wage and Hour Investigator, Equal Opportunity Investigator, Compliance Officer, Securities Compliance Examiner, HIPAA Compliance Officer, Compliance Intelligence Analyst, and Environmental Compliance Officer.  In, these positions can be found within the 1800 Occupational Series for federal agencies – “Inspection, Investigation, Enforcement and Compliance Group.” Compliance work is also handled in the inspector general offices of local, state and federal agencies. 


Tips for Breaking into Compliance


  •  Determine if Compliance is Right for You:  Take the LawFit Assessment, research compliance options, and meet with a CSO advisor. Compliance professionals tend to have the following qualifications and skills: understanding of financial markets (for financial compliance), knowledge of regulatory agencies, research and investigative skills, legal analysis and problem-solving skills, writing and communication skills, negotiation skills, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, attention to detail, the ability to articulate a point of view concisely, and the ability to assess and quantify risk. Compliance careers make more sense for some law graduates. They can be more fulfilling than traditional legal jobs and help pay off debt.


  • Plan Courses Carefully:  Take compliance courses to expand your knowledge and get to know professors in the field. Take relevant JD and MLS courses (often online) and consult with Professor Paul Flanigan for course advising. The CSO is also here to guide you with regard to course and co-op options for a career path in compliance work.
  • Keep Current on Industry Issues: Read news articles, trade journals, regulator websites (SEC, FINRA, etc.), and other resources (stock exchange, brokerage firms, FIA briefs, etc.). If you have a Linkedin profile (and we strongly advocate that you do), you can follow various industries, associations, and corporations. This will be very important for interview prep. Be aware of hot topics such as cybersecurity, disruptive technologies, bitcoin, and how regulations apply to the cloud.
  • Get Experience in the Industry: Get your foot in the door, build skills, and learn the lingo and basics through non-legal internships (e.g., start at a regulator such as FINRA and then transition into financial services) and temp positions after graduation. Although prior compliance experience is not always for necessary for entry-level positions due to increasing demand, networking and knowledge of the industry are valuable for one’s job search. Take compliance courses (JD and MLS offerings) and speak with alumni and professors in the field to gain knowledge. Participate in trainings or CLEs (for example, through PLI or PBI) to build experience.


  • Understand Hiring Timelines:  Unlike most legal jobs, many compliance positions (particularly AML positions at banks) begin as full-time, short-term contract positions paid on an hourly basis, but these positions often have the potential to be converted into full-time, long-term positions with salaries within six months. Unlike BigLaw or government hiring timelines, full-time hiring opportunities are relatively fast and may take place at the end of third year or after the bar exam.
  • Be Enthusiastic about the Field:  Do not look at the compliance field as a fallback to a traditional attorney role.  Compliance careers are emergent careers with more diverse opportunities, not alternative careers. This is an area of growth for attorneys and you can add real value to a company.  Recruiters look for candidates who demonstrate a real passion for compliance and the ability and willingness to train others. Compliance professionals tend to have access to senior officials of their organization, job security, and upward mobility, and they gain tremendous insight about their organizations and the laws that govern them. Many compliance professionals find it exciting to be in an advisory role and to help the company achieve its goals and build product lines through execution, testing and oversight.
  • Make a Target List of Companies:  Check websites regularly for job openings and sign up for job alerts, if available. Be open to smaller, lesser known companies and mid-tier institutions (e.g., startups, tech companies) where you will obtain the same valuable experience and deal with the same issues and regulations.


  • Get Certified: Set yourself apart with a compliance certificate.  Conduct the research and learn if you can earn a certification during law school. Be sure to thoroughly investigate any certificate program before enrolling. Speak with individuals who have earned the credential and employers who have hired them to find out if the program is worth your time, effort and money. For instance, ACAMS is the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist certification that can make candidates more marketable to employers.


  • Build Your Network:  Reach out to anyone you know who works at companies of interest (or mutual connections) to ask for introductions to people working in compliance divisions. Ask adjunct professors who teach compliance courses to help you make connections in the field. Contact alumni in compliance positions and request informational meetings. Stay in touch with folks you meet in the industry – they may not keep resumes on file. Review Linkedin profiles of individuals in compliance positions to explore career paths and search for connections. 
  • Revamp Your Resume:  Include relevant buzz words and phrases for regulatory roles and transferrable skills such as investigation, research, drafting and analysis. List compliance courses you have taken or plan to take at the top of your resume (“Relevant Coursework”). Use phrases from the job description to the extent possible in highlighting your relevant experience. It is not necessary to highlight Bar admission at the top (as you would for a legal resume), but include it. Highlight specific industry experience, as well as relevant conferences, certifications, CLE’s, and coursework. Sample compliance resumes are available in the Symplicity Document Library (Resources Tab).


  • Take the Bar Exam!  Take the exam right after graduating law school even if you have no plans to work in traditional attorney role. 


  • Keep an Eye on the News:  Follow companies that get in trouble with regulators, as this could indicate a trend in job growth.


Career Paths/Sample Job Titles (job titles below are helpful for key-word search on Symplicity, Indeed, Linkedin, and other job sites) – more comprehensive list in “Careers in Compliance, JDs Wanted” by Richard L. Hermann (2017).

  • Compliance Associate/Compliance Analyst (two of the most common titles for entry level positions)
  • Compliance Officer
  • Title IX Coordinator
  • Risk Manager
  • AML Analyst
  • Data Privacy Manager
  • Chief Security Architect
  • Compliance Specialist
  • Wage and Hour Investigator
  • Environmental Protection Specialist
  • Bank Investment Compliance Officer
  • China Compliance Manager
  • ADA Compliance Manager
  • Assistant Compliance Officer
  • NCAA Compliance Manager
  • Equal Opportunity Compliance Specialist
  • Global Compliance Officer
  • Director of Corporate Compliance
  • Code of Ethics Compliance Manager
  • Compliance Program Auditor
  • Federal Contract Compliance EEO Specialist
  • Data Protection Compliance Advisor
  • Consumer Lending Compliance Director
  • Tax Compliance Officer
  • Legal Compliance Officer
  • Program Integrity Specialist
  • Research Compliance Officer – Clinical Trials
  • Higher Education Compliance Officer
  • Utilities Compliance Officer
  • K-12 School Compliance Officer
  • Securities Compliance Examiner
  • Advertising Compliance Director (deals with social media regulations)
  • Quality Assurance and Monitoring Associate


Professional Associations & Networking Organizations


*Many of the sites below include job boards and information on membership, training, professional certification programs, and conferences.


·      Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)


·      International Association of Privacy Professionals

o (offers CIPP certification, often obtained by health care compliance professionals)

·      Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE)


·      New York City Bar Association, Compliance Committee


·      Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists

o (financial crimes job board across multiple industries)

·      Joint Commission (accredits and certifies around 20,000 U.S. healthcare organizations and programs):


·      Health Ethics Trust


·      American Society for Healthcare Risk Management


·      National Society of Compliance Professionals (NSCP)


·      National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA)


·      International Association of Risk and Compliance Professionals (IARCP)


·      Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (AML and financial crime detection and prevention professionals)


·      Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI) Job Bank


·      Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)


o   SIFMA Compliance and Legal Society:

·      American Bankers Association (ABA)


·      Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)



Additional Job Boards and Resources


· and – use keyword “compliance”

·      Compliance Crossing (job board):

·      General Compliance Jobs:

·      Ethics and Compliance Officer Association (ECOA) job bank: 

·      Compliance Week (information on corporate governance, risk and compliance):

·      Compliance Insights:

·      eFinancial Careers:

·      AML Source (career center for anti-money laundering and financial crime professionals):

·      Financial Crimes Jobs:

·      FINRA: (internships and online courses available)

·      FINRA Webinars:

·      American Health Lawyers Association job bank:

·      Higher Education (e.g., Title IX Compliance and University Compliance Officer Jobs): 




·      Dragon Jobs (Drexel University job board):

·      Environmental Law, Policy and Regulation Jobs


·      Aegis Compliance & Ethics/Ankura – monthly compliance webinars:

·      Compliance Blogs – Davis Polk’s Corporate Governance Blog


·      Podcast on breaking into compliance:

·      Practicing Law Institute (PLI) -- for CLE information:



*NOTE:  There are many law school training programs, which range from one-day seminars to online certifications and LL.M. programs, as well as certificate programs administered by professional associations and other industry-specific organizations. Examples are below.

·      Kline School of Law Compliance Certificate Programs:  Criminal Law; Cybersecurity and Information Privacy Compliance; Financial Regulatory Compliance; Health Care Compliance; Higher Education Compliance; Human Resources Compliance; NCAA Compliance and Sports Law


·      Data Privacy and GDPR Training at Drexel:  The Kline School of Law has partnered with IAPP to offer in-person training and certification programs for those looking to advance their career in information privacy. The two-day courses are taught on campus by Kline Law professors Paul Flanagan and Jordan Fischer, preparing you to take the CIPP/E and CIPM certification exams.


·      CIPP -- Certified Information Privacy Professional


·      CIPM – Certified Information Privacy Manager


·      ACAMS -- Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist certification (some employers look for this certification on a resume and will accept a candidate with less experience who has it; however, some graduates obtain this certification soon after graduation while working for a company):


·      CFCS – Certified Financial Crime Specialist


·      CRCM – Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager

o   American Bankers Association offers additional certifications in AML/Fraud, Enterprise Risk, and other areas)


·      Compliance Certification Board -- includes healthcare privacy compliance (CHPC), Healthcare Compliance (CHC), Healthcare Research Compliance (CHRC), and more.


·      CFE -- Certified Fraud Examiner certificate for work in compliance, risk management, investigations, and governance.


·      Cannon Financial certification program


·      LORMAN --  offers compliance programs in a wide variety of areas and in multiple formats


·      OSHA Compliance Certificate – National Safety Council


·      Regulatory Affairs Certificates (pharmaceuticals and medical devices)


·      HR Certification Institute


·      CRCMP – Certified Risk and Compliance Management Professional


·      FINRA Compliance Boot Camp

·      CHFCE -- Certified Hedge Fund Compliance Expert


·      Environmental and Quality Certification Programs – ABS Consulting (e.g., Clean Air Compliance Specialist)


·      Certified Securities Compliance Professional



Contact the CSO

Contact the CSO if you need assistance with:

➢ Learning if compliance work is the right fit for you!

➢ Developing a compliance-specific resume.

➢ Connecting with alumni in compliance positions.

Job Searching Tip:

JOB SEARCHING TIP:  CHECK COMPANY WEBSITES!  Many large corporations and banks use HR portals for job postings. Students and alumni need to be proactive, find these sites, and set up job alerts. These alerts are usually good for 60-90 days and must be renewed.  Create accounts on the sites of companies that post compliance/trust administration/AML/other JD Advantage positions:  e.g., JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Citi, PNC, TDBank, Goldman Sachs, Wilmington Trust, etc.  It is helpful to create a job search on the sites using the keyword “law.”