Pursuing a career in law with a finance background
Whether you intended to pursue a career in the finance industry, or you weren’t quite sure what you wanted to do, you may have obtained a qualification in finance. But this can be an ideal basis for a legal career, as law and finance are intrinsically linked.
Recognising the similarities in how the legal and finance industries are regulated goes some way to helping you see how they are related. The requirement of professional indemnity insurance when working as a solicitor or accountant, for example, highlights the importance of the roles and the high level of professionalism that they demand.
If you’re already undertaking a finance-related course when you decide that you want to consider a career in law, it’s necessary to determine whether you can transfer or add a minor as soon as possible. Those who have completed their non-law education can consider pursing a Master of Laws (LLM) in order to develop their legal knowledge. In some cases, undertaking a Bachelor of Law degree (LLB) will be necessary to pursue a career where a full understanding of the law is required.
The knowledge and skills that are utilised by financial professionals can transfer well to a legal position, so starting a financial career doesn’t negate the ability to switch to a legal one. For example, the analytical skills used by an accountant can prove useful in company and tax law. Acting as a corporate accountant is good grounding for a career in company law, which will require a keen eye and the ability to decipher complex information. Working as a financial analyst will also be useful in company law. The skills of an actuary can be used within banking or insurance law as strong mathematical abilities will be necessary to analyse information and undertake calculations. This type of work will also be beneficial for civil law and employment law, where there is a need to determine the level of compensation to be paid. Within a corporate environment, the finance team will often need to work closely with the legal team in order to come to a result, which will make a transition easy.
There are a number of classes of the law that are suited to someone with a finance background, as they require many of the same skills to complete effectively. Many branches of the law require a good understanding of financial matters in order to complete the work effectively. Some parts of the law have clear links to finance, such as corporate or insolvency law, and would attract those with a finance background. There are others that are less obvious, but also require a focus on the numbers. These include: high-value divorce; corporate restructuring; probate; intellectual property; product liability; and insolvency. In addition to the legal aspects of these matters, there will be a need to review the finances that variously affect them. The similarities between law and finance mean that it’s not unheard of for someone with an education – and even work experience – in finance to transfer to a legal career. Understanding what type of position you’ll be able to take, and not jumping to conclusions, will help you make a decision about your future.