Areas of Law: How to Become a Banking and Finance Lawyer
Banking and finance law facts can be found on this page – if you’re considering this area of law, read on…
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How to Become a Banking and Finance Lawyer: What is Banking and Finance Law?
It essentially concerns the lending and borrowing of money between banks and companies or individuals. However, the practice area is split into different sub-divisions:
- Asset Finance is the lending of money to a borrower in order to buy an asset such as a ship, aircraft or machinery;
- Project Finance is the lending of money in order to fund an infrastructure project where the loan is then paid back by the money raised by the project itself;
- Real Estate Finance is the lending of money in order to fund the acquisition of property or its redevelopment;
- Acquisition Finance is the lending of a large sum of money to a company so that it can buy another company and includes leveraged buyout finance where the borrower uses mostly the lenders money and little of their own capital to buy the company;
- Islamic Finance is the lending of money in a way that is Sharia law compliant, so the deal is structured so that there is no interest paid or collected on the loan.
Due to the nature of many banks and private equity funds, much of this work is of an international nature.
How to Become a Banking and Finance Lawyer: What Might a Banking and Finance Lawyer Do on a Day-to-Day Basis?
On a day-to-day basis, a banking and finance lawyer may be expected to carry out due diligence for their clients’ to ensure that any borrowers will be able to repay the money and to check there are no discrepancies in their finances. A lawyer will also have to ensure that their client complies with specific procedures, for instance, concluding a deal at a board meeting so that it is properly signed and witnessed.
They may also be required to negotiate the terms of loans or financing agreements with the other party’s representatives to help both parties arrive at a mutually agreeable set of provisions.
How to Become a Banking and Finance Lawyer: What are Some of the Perks of a Career in Banking and Finance Law?
Some of the perks of a career in this area are the prestige attached to working in a competitive legal sector, often on behalf of clients that are household names. This lends itself to a stimulating work environment and brings another perk in the generous salary that can typically be expected in this sector.
How to Become a Banking and Finance Lawyer: What Sort of Person Would Suit a Career in Banking and Finance Law?
Some key attributes would be:
- Excellent attention to detail and the fine print of agreements;
- A good understanding of the different types of loan and the way that banks structure them;
- The ability to understand the ambitions and goals of your client in order to advise them on whether the risks and benefits of a deal are worthwhile and ultimately in their best interests;
- Good personal skills to build and maintain relationships with clients as well as being able to condense complex information into practical advice that a client can understand and act on.
How to Become a Banking and Finance Lawyer: What are Some Different Routes into Becoming a Banking and Finance Lawyer?
You could either choose to take the graduate route and complete an undergraduate degree in law, or in another subject and then a conversion course, before taking the LPC and getting a training contract. Alternatively, you could do an apprenticeship to qualify as a solicitor or become a chartered legal executive and then specialise in one of the areas of banking and finance law.
How to Become a Banking and Finance Lawyer: What Work Experience Looks Good for a Career in Banking and Finance Law?
Work experience with banks, accounting firms or any other company demonstrating an interest in finance would look good for this career path and also give you the chance to develop commercial awareness. You should also consider going on a vacation scheme with a firm that specialises in banking and finance law.
How to Become a Banking and Finance Lawyer: Some Topical Issues
Some issues that you may want to look into for interviews/applications are:
- Those surrounding the Libor Swaps scandal in which several banks were found to have colluded to fix Libor by misreporting the interest rates that they paid to other banks on loans so as to profit or make them appear more stable than they actually were.
- The impact of Brexit on banking and finance law – as much of the transactions carried out in the financial sector are dependent on company’s access to the EU through passporting rights, it is important to consider the impact that losing these rights will incur should the UK leave the EU without a deal in place.
Written by Joe Blackmore.