The Catholic University of America



Office of Career and Professional Development Hosts Careers in the Law: Compliance

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On February 12, 2018, the CUA Law Office of Career and Professional Development, led by Director Tonya Gaskins, hosted a “Careers in the Law Series Panel” on Compliance opportunities. CUA Law Professor Sarah Duggin moderated the panel and introduced the panelists: Lydia Pardini ‘13, U.S. Department of Commerce; Richard Gallena‘13, Orrick; Vin Lacovara ‘97, The Catholic University of America, Office of General Counsel; Michael Shaw ‘93, Semmes, Bowen, & Semmes; and Parker Griffin ‘08, Morgan Stanley and adjunct CUA Law Professor.

“Compliance is perhaps the fastest growing area in the law and one of the most important,” said Duggin, who is spearheading a new CUA Law program in Compliance, Investigations and Corporate Responsibility. “Bureau of Labor Statistics data reflect that there are more than 257,000 compliance positions in the United States; over the next eight years the demand is expected to continue to expand significantly.”

The panelists spoke about their career trajectories, and how many are not linear. “Out of undergrad, I became a financial advisor for a few years and really enjoyed it, but then I got the itch to go to law school. After law school, I wanted to stay in that industry…so I went to work for FINRA,” Shaw stated. Further on in his career, Shaw also built a 12-person compliance team for Certified Financial Planners Board of Standards, and now is in private practice.

All of the panelists agreed that leveraging the alumni network was a key element in finding opportunities in area of compliance. “As far as networking, the best resources that your probably have are the alumni. Get on LinkedIn…Search by school and job and find an alumnus that is doing a similar position that you want to do, and send that person an email,” Griffin said. Professor Duggan also emphasized the importance of polite follow up and using a CUA-email address when reaching out to alumni.

Lacavora concurred on the importance of the alumni connections and expanded to include professional associations. “The trade association for compliance professionals, The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE), is a great resource for finding jobs…they are compliance-wide and not just one industry,” said Lacovara.

Director Gaskins asked the panelists what they look for on resumes. “I look for strong writing experience, particularly advocacy writing experience,” said Pardini. She also mentioned looking for client skills and the ability to review internal documents for a client prior to publication and “plug all the holes.” Shaw went on to add “…get as broad an experience here at Catholic as you can, because you never know what course might relate to a job in the future.”