Job Title: Legal Associate
Type of Company: Alternative Asset Management Firm
Education: BA, Economics, Middlebury College
Previous Experience: I started in the operations department of a custodial bank, then moved on to credit risk management before leaving for the legal department of an different asset management firm.
Job Tasks: I'm in charge of my company's day-to-day ethical wall and personal trading functions. My responsibilities include maintaining and monitoring the firm's ethical walls and monitoring the flow of non-public information across business units and keeping a particular eye on the trading activity of the public advisory business units and employees. My responsibilities also include the active maintenance of the firm's watch list and restricted lists and the documentation and elevation of any violations or exceptions to the Firm's Code of Ethics and the Corporate Policy Manual. I work with IT to design and customize compliance infrastructure software and ensure that the necessary data is being retrieved. I also document potential employee conflicts of interest and any impact they may have on other individuals or business units within the firm.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Being at a relatively small firm allows for flexibility and freedom in my role. I am not confined to one responsibility and have been forced to learn a broad spectrum of material.
The worst part is working in a cost center as compared to a revenue generator, which can result in a slightly higher salary but puts a ceiling on bonuses and perks.
1. You've got to be passionate about securities rules and regulations and believe in the importance of the oversight of capital markets: that the invisible hand can sometimes use a little "nudge." And you have to be able to see the macro effects that legal and compliance functions have on securities markets.
Additional Thoughts: The most important qualities for success in your career are analytical and problem-solving abilities, hard work, strong base knowledge and a willingness to learn. If I could change just one of the choices I made early on, I would have moved to NYC to do an internship on Wall St. during the college summers instead of returning to my home state, and I would have leveraged my connections and the career service office at my college to get a better head start.
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