why choose legal career? why not accounting career?
Stan Ho - Career Doctor
Posted Thursday, 01 December 2011 06:56 PM
Thanks for your question. We can cover both legal and non-legal fields which can utilise both your banking experience and law degree.
Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL)
If you would like to move to the legal field (either as a solicitor or barrister), you need to study for PCLL and finish the relevant exams. PCLL is locally offered in universities like HKU, CUHK and CityU, where you will study more practical and specialised subjects including trial advocacy, dispute resolution and litigation at an advanced level etc. PCLL can be completed over one year (in the full-time mode) or two years (in the part-time mode).
I have interacted with a lot of solicitors in my past 15 years, either as an investment banker in the IPO and M&A transactions, or as a credit rating analyst in structured finance transactions.
Apart from solid legal knowledge and excellent English and presentation skills, all the excellent solicitors in the banking and finance sector need to know finance well so that they can interact and communicate effectively with different transaction parties. They all need to handle multiple tasks well as they are working on several transactions with overlapping timetables. This is particularly important when key deadlines (e.g. prospectus submission to the stock exchange) are approaching and you are still receiving and incorporating many and often contradicting documentation comments from different transaction parties.
Finance Career Utilising Legal Knowledge
Alternatively, you can opt for a banking career which can better utilise your legal knowledge. For instance, structured lending for clients in the emerging markets would involve collaterals, setting up of special purpose vehicles (SPV) and even currency/interest rate swaps. Such lending transactions call for loan and security documentation more complicated than that for the plain vanilla unsecured lending, as well as swap documentation like ISDA schedule, CSA and confirmations which are heavily negotiated. In this regard, legal knowledge and a strong sense of legal documentation would help.
You can also consider moving into the regulatory side of the industry, where the enforcement or the market supervision departments of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) look favorably at candidates with degrees or qualifications in law.