Is A Career In Compliance Law Right For You?

Working in compliance law can be deeply rewarding. Every day will bring a new challenge, and as compliance attorneys earn an average salary of $135,280, you’ll be able to afford the finer things in life, too. 

However, breaking into compliance law can be tough. You’ll almost certainly need a law degree and may have to specialize further during your time in higher education. As such, it’s essential to understand what you’re signing up for before you start to pursue a career in compliance law. 

What Is Compliance Law?

Compliance laws play a vital role in modern society. The compliance industry ensures that businesses adhere to the laws set by independent agencies or governmental agencies. Individuals who work in compliance play an integral role in protecting consumers, the environment, and other businesses. As such, the scope of the compliance industry is vast. However, careers in compliance usually fall into one of the following categories: 

  • Regulatory Compliance: Determining whether a business complies with laws and regulations determined by the government. 
  • HR Compliance: Ensuring all staff are treated fairly and protected against discrimination and malpractice. 
  • Data Compliance: In the digital age, personal data can be misused and abused. Businesses are beholden to standards like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Health and Safety: Health and safety compliance laws protect everyone from undue risk and harm. Acts like the Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act (HIPAA) also improve patient confidentiality and privacy. 

Compliance law is something of a behemoth in the legal world. New legislation and regulations are constantly being introduced to protect individuals and businesses. However, careers in compliance have been on the rise since 2010 as more people are opting for a career in service and compliance. 

A Typical Day In Compliance Law

Understanding the types of compliance law is important. However, before you can decide whether a career in compliance is right for you, you should acquaint yourself with a typical day in the industry. 

While every organization is different, you can feel fairly confident that you’ll spend your days helping businesses better understand the compliance laws and regulations that pertain to their industry. 

Ethics and compliance officer Kimberly Strong explains that compliance officers usually start by researching and analyzing “all levels of the business” to understand better the policies, procedures, and rules that apply to that firm. This will give you an appreciation of the “standard of business conduct” that you can refer to when employees call in with questions.  

Clearly, working in compliance requires a detailed understanding of the industry and an ability to think critically and clearly under pressure. Fortunately, these key skills and values can be learned on the job and will serve you well for years to come. 

Key Skills And Values

Working in compliance isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t detail-oriented, you may find the day-to-day tasks associated with compliance law to be monotonous and overwhelming. You should also be resilient and should be able to problem-solve with clients and businesses across multiple industries.

Fortunately, you can learn the skills and traits you need to become a highly regarded compliance law professional. Learnable abilities associated with compliance law include: 

  • Leadership;
  • Public speaking;
  • Organization;
  • Attention to detail;
  • Interpersonal communication.

These skills can be developed over time with practice and patience. You can make the learning process easier by effectively managing your stress. Proactive stress management is key if you want to have a long career in compliance law, where every day brings new challenges. Learn to mitigate the stress you are under by: 

  • Moving more often;
  • Getting enough sleep (7-9 hours a night); 
  • Practicing mindfulness;
  • Getting support from qualified mental health professionals.

These stress management practices will also serve you well during law school, where exams and tests are sure to test your abilities and pique your stress.  

Education And Qualifications For A Career In Compliance Law

Many positions in compliance law require a law degree or equivalent qualification. However, getting accepted into law school can be difficult. Minimum requirements for law school include: 

  • An undergraduate degree;
  • A qualifying LSAT or GRE score;
  • Positive letters of recommendation;
  • Proof of English proficiency. 

Performing well in the LSAT can be tricky. However, gaining the right qualifications can fast-track you into new and growing sectors like LegalTech. Before enrolling in law school, consider the courses available and try to plan a career path in a subsector of compliance law that excites you. 


A career in compliance can be extremely rewarding. You protect individuals and businesses alike and may end up playing a key role in exposing scandals like the multi-billion dollar Bank of America subprime lending scheme. You may be particularly well suited to compliance law if you consider yourself resilient and are a people person. Your skills will be tested during law school, but eventually, you’ll build a career path to be proud of.  

Lavanya Rathnam

Lavanya Rathnam is an experienced technology, finance, and compliance writer. She combines her keen understanding of regulatory frameworks and industry best practices with exemplary writing skills to communicate complex concepts of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in clear and accessible language. Lavanya specializes in creating informative and engaging content that educates and empowers readers to make informed decisions. She also works with different companies in the Web 3.0, blockchain, fintech, and EV industries to assess their products’ compliance with evolving regulations and standards.

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