Financial, Banking and Securities Law

Financial banking and securities law deals with the regulatory and legal issues of monetary and investment transactions. Read on to find out more about job duties, educational requirements, career outlook and salary potential for this field.

Is Financial, Banking and Securities Law for Me?

Career Overview

Banks, lending companies, international trade businesses and major corporations all hire financial attorneys to oversee their legal situations. Many experts in banking law work independently for several clients at a time through their own private offices. You would need to earn not only a 4-year bachelor's degree, but also spend at least three years in law school and possibly an additional year focusing on financial, banking and securities law.

Work Environment

As a lawyer you would act as both an attorney and advisor in matters of both the public and private spheres. If you choose to focus on financial, banking and securities law, you may be able to work for the federal government, international business and a variety of law firms. You would most likely work in an office with some time spent in courtrooms.

Salary and Employment Outlook

You may expect to begin your career in a salaried position, advancing later to better positions within a law firm or going into private practice. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for lawyers is expected to grow by 10% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). In May 2013, the mean annual wage for a lawyer was $131,990.

How Can I Work in Financial, Banking and Securities Law?

Education Information

You should first obtain an undergraduate degree, preferably in the liberal arts, business or finance. You would then need to score well on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) in order to gain admissions to a law school to pursue a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. While in law school, you may be able to concentrate on financial, banking and securities law, or pursue a separate Master of Laws (LL.M.) in banking and financial law during or after your J.D. degree program. You should expect a varied student body, as some participants in an LL.M. program may have already obtained their J.D. and significant experience practicing law. Others may be new to both degree programs.

Topics of Study

The curriculum for an LL.M. program concentrating on financial, banking and securities law may include regulatory, transactional and business-oriented aspects of the legal framework. Areas of concentration might include international banking and financial law, lending and credit transactions, financial services transactions, American banking and financial law, securities transactions and compliance management. Potential courses might include bankruptcy, mergers and acquisitions, commercial lending, securitization and hedge funds.

Program Requirements

Typically, earning your J.D. would take three years, while earning your LL.M. in finance, banking and securities law may require one additional year of full-time study. You could pursue both simultaneously through a joint J.D./LL.M. degree program. After earning your degrees, you will need to successfully pass the bar exam of the state in which you plan to practice law.

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