Hot Jobs: Financial services law heating up

Now might be a good time for young attorneys to consider specializing in the financial services industry. Between fighting the recession and facing constantly changing regulations, it is a confusing time for banks and businesses and they’ll need lawyers to help them sort through the mess.

Legal jobs in the financial services industry are a red-hot option right now, according to Robert Denney Associates’ midyear market report on what is hot or not in the legal profession.

Probably the biggest driver in this industry are new laws such as The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which continues to be subject of debate during the elections race, especially for small and mid-sized banks.

“So many of the new regulations called for in that act have not been defined or clarified and that’s causing a problem with small banks,” Denney said.

Dodd-Frank, which was signed into federal law by President Barack Obama in July of 2010, was passed in light of the recent recession in efforts to improve accountability and transparency in the financial services industry.

Some of the other factors driving this practice area include Internet commerce and bank failures, according to the study.

“Internet commerce is booming from states trying to collect sales taxes on merchandise that is purchased outside the state but delivered in and that continues to be a problem. So it will be an ongoing political issue as much of a legal or financial issue,” Denney said. “It is also leaving that part of financial services practice in limbo — one issue that’s causing a lot of problems.”

Bank failures have slowed down, so except in the largest firms, in the past few months that hasn’t been as big an issue as some of the other factors, Denney said.

More than anything, small banks and businesses will need lawyers to help with regulation changes. Denney said smaller regional firms such as Friedman Schuman are capitalizing on their strength in this area. He said smaller regional firms are dealing with more issues of smaller insurance companies, banks and brokerage firms to help clarify new regulations.

“It’s the overall confusion or incompleteness of [regulations], which is really causing a lot of turmoil in financial services,” he said.