The FCPA Blog’s recent postings on the rise in compliance education are encouraging. At Fordham Law School, we’re finding increasing demand from the business community in New York and throughout the country for compliance professionals and believe that it is one of the most important growth areas for legal education. We have adjusted our course offerings accordingly.
Recent media reports reflect the increasing demand. In a January 15, 2014, article titled Compliance Office: Dream Career? The Wall Street Journal reported that HSBC had added 1,600 compliance employees in 2013. The Financial Times called compliance “one of the hottest areas of financial recruitment” in its April 24, 2014, article The age of the compliance officer arrives. The article refers to a speech given by a Bank of England official who estimated that, as a result of European compliance requirements, 70,000 new full-time jobs would need to be created, while U.S. rules like Dodd-Frank would necessitate tens of thousands of compliance positions. For many companies, especially banks, compliance is more than a public relations makeover; it is an entirely new way of doing business.
Fordham Law’s robust compliance program is helping to supply ethically minded legal professionals for the growing demand. Among the school’s initiatives is an LL.M. in Corporate Compliance, which welcomed its first cohort of students this fall. The degree program introduces Fordham Law students to the field that offers not only employment prospects but also new challenges for development of the law. Fordham also offers a great breadth of foundational and elective courses in compliance for J.D. students. For example, J.D. students have the opportunity to design a compliance program; learn how to roll out a program for a global corporation; gain an insider’s perspective of the U.S. system of financial regulation; and become acquainted with the FCPA, Dodd- Frank, and other key regulatory reforms.
The new compliance programs are good news for law students. According to The Wall Street Journal, starting salaries for compliance officers have been rising 3.5% each year since 2011. Moreover, those officers with a law degree are generally in a better position to advance to the higher end of the pay scale. In some large companies this salary may figure at more than $200,000.
I hope the FCPA Blog will continue to shine a light on this important area.
Sean J. Griffith is the T.J. Maloney Chair and Professor of Law and the Director of the Corporate Law Center at Fordham Law School in New York City.