In-house Legal Opportunities within Financial Services

05 Jun 23:00 by Oliver Lewis


Throughout my recruitment career, I have always focused on the financial services space. Initially, I placed investment professionals and more recently, I have assisted large investment banks, private equity funds and venture capitalists with legal and compliance hires. These have ranged from newly created sole counsel positions to building out an entire compliance function.

Over the last 30 years, Laurence Simons Search has partnered with businesses including UBS, Standard Chartered, Octopus Ventures and Goldman Sachs to provide them with the best legal and compliance talent.  The economy and political landscape have changed a lot in those 30 years, as has the size and shape of our clients’ legal teams but one thing remains unchanged, there is still a consistent demand for lawyers in this sector and an ever-increasing demand for compliance and data privacy professionals.

Fintech businesses approach us to map the market when they make their business-critical first in-house hire. The opportunities for private practice lawyers aspiring to make their first in-house move have never been greater. Opportunities in the funds and derivatives space lead the way; I tip my cap to the ISDA negotiators who are amongst the busiest people in London of late.  However, the smorgasbord of opportunities that appeared in banking and larger funds in the early noughties does not look the same anymore. The experience needed to secure that critical first in-house role or move up the in-house pay scale or trajectory needs to be more diverse. Clients look for EQ and IQ; they consider crisis management skills, leadership style, and business partnering approach. When you have 20 candidates who are all longlisted for the same corporate counsel role, you need to offer more than just excellent technical skills from a city firm.  As an in-house lawyer, you need to have a mix of attributes that allow you to attack everything with the company at the forefront of your decision, with the approachability of a business partner, not a cost centre but retain the outcome focus that is instilled through private practice.

In the financial services sector, a tailored CV is particularly important. With such a broad skill set required to help with the numerous regulations (MiFID ii, SM&CR, etc.) and an everchanging structure within the sector, you need to be more than simply an M&A lawyer, so make this clear on your CV!  That means not just putting a few things in bold or italics.  Make sure that your CV shows how you add value to your employer as an individual contributor; ensure your profile reflects these achievements and avoids general corporate jargon. Add a dose of resilience and commercial awareness, and now you are ready to make that all important move.

To find out more about your EQ and how best to use it see - https://www.laurencesimons.com/lumina-profiling

If you are looking to make a move or simply want some CV or interview advice, reach out confidentially to Oliver.Lewis@LaurenceSimons.com