In this blog post, Arunima Kar, a student at Calcutta University and pursuing a Diploma in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws from NUJS, Kolkata, describes the career prospects of lawyers in the banking sector.
Banking as One of the Career Prospects of Lawyers
In a country like India, the Banking sector acts as one of the main pillars of widespread economic growth. According to the central Bank of India, our Banking sector has adequate capital and is well modulated. Consequently, it is regarded as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Indian Banking Sector is growing rapidly and is considered as one of the strongest and regulated economies in the world opening vast opportunities for its people.
Recently, Indian banking industry has witnessed a historical decision of demonetization which has lead to an extensive liquidity crunch. The impact of this liquidity shock on the India’s GDP is still uncertain and is under the examination of experts but it is certain that all monetary transactions will come under the banking system which will lead to the next big step in the expansion of Indian Banking system. It will result in the huge demand for the services of legal professionals as every major financial transaction requires the supervision of a senior law officer or a Legal Analyst.
Role of a Lawyer in Indian Banking Institutions
- It is an adhered duty of all finance lawyers to take care that their bank abides by all the statutory norms of the government and the detailed guidelines of RBI and there is no illegal activity going on. This makes it clear how vast opportunities are in the Banking Sector for attorneys and legal professionals because RBI guidelines and statutory provisions must be executed from the beginning to the end of the banking system.
- Law is a common area for all financial advisers and planners. A lawyer in a banking institution is not always limited to give legal advice or handle lawsuits representing banks in courts, they are entrusted with versatile work roles.
From a wide perspective and larger horizon we can analyze that an independent banking lawyer or a financial law firm or an employed banking lawyer serves clients, customers and authorities regarding financial issues that stretch from –
- Restructuring a business,
- Clearance of debt,
- Drafting or negotiating contact,
- Vetting legal documents,
- Settling Recovery issues,
- Structuring Limited Liability Partnership,
- Global Commercial Issues,
- Dispute Resolution,
- Fund Development,
- Preparing pleadings and drafts,
- Replying to queries and complaints,
- Review in Bank policies,
- Review and draft lease deeds,
- Research on Bank policies and statutory provisions,
- Ensuring legal compliance,
- Advising on leveraged financing,
- Handling Bankruptcy litigation,
- Project Development,
- Recovery of loans,
- Handling deferred payment issues,
- Settlement of NPA (Non-performing assets),
- Managing issues regarding SARFAESI Act ” Securitizations and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act”,
- Settling cases relating to Negotiable Instruments Act,
- Settling cases relating to RTI Act,
- Handling Debt Recovery Tribunal,
- Handling matters of mortgage, real estate cases, contract, insurance, indemnity, foreign exchange investment, ombudsman complaint, consumer case, cross-border transactions, taxation to overall operations of banks.
Some Other Major Specialized Areas include —
- Compliance function department.
- Investment Banking.
- Private Equity.
- Legal Analysis.
How to Become a Banking or Financial Lawyer?
- General Eligibility Criteria for Lawyers in Banking Industry:
An aspiring financial lawyer must have –
- Graduation degree from a recognized university,
- LLB degree or LLB graduation degree from a recognized university,
- Cleared the Bar council examination of any state,
- Enrolled in the Bar association of a state,
- Earned professional license,
- Experience in practice or work experience in providing financial services – though it is not mandatory but acts as an additional value.
- Institute of Banking Personal Selection Department (IBPS) Law Officer
A law officer is a person who takes care of all legal activities of a Bank. IBPS is a common written examination which recruits officers, clerks and special officers in Indian Banks.
For direct recruitment, candidates require sound experience. Candidates who will clear the written test and interview will be selected for those public sector banks which participated in IBPS.
Pay scale for law officers varies from Rs 14,500-70,000 per month.
- Compliance Officer
A compliance officer is a person who ensures the policies of the bank and works closely with the chief operating officer as well as the audit committee. They are the key person to ensure that all the regulatory guidelines of RBI and statutory norms of the Government are strictly followed by the Banking institution.
Preferably a compliance officer should have any one of the following specialized areas of Knowledge along with LLB degree –
- Expertise in banking law and general banking system,
- Experience of practice or a degree in banking Law,
- A degree or professional knowledge of experience on consumer Protection Laws,
- A degree course or an area of study on Public Interest Laws,
- A basic degree course on accounts or masters,
- Economics degree in graduation level or masters,
- Masters in Business laws or business administration or basic degree like
- An additional degree in Company Secretaryship along with LLB,
- Certification in Board Compliance Officer,
- Certification on Regulatory Compliance Manager,
- Certification on Regulatory and Compliance Professional.
- Investment Banking
People who are planning to earn expertise in investment banking should obtain a degree in Corporate Law and develop skilled knowledge in business administration and entrepreneurship law. It is for those who are passionate about math and accounts.
They must be comfortable with large numbers and calculations. They should have a strong quantitative aptitude and quick numerical acumen.
- Private Equity Lawyer
These professionals structure the Limited Liability Partnership of the fund, collected from investors and settle deals on the basis of which investors agree to invest their capital in the business for their clients. During any transaction the private equity lawyer represents a private equity firm. Practice in this specific area can welcome opportunities from reputed law firms.
- Legal Analyst
These professionals assist attorneys conducts clients meeting, drafts and evaluate legal documents, pleadings, build networking relationship, acts as a liaison, performs legal research, prepares the database for trials, specializes in network administration, gathers information from clients.
Legal Analyst is a preliminary basic step similar as a trainee lawyer or a step ahead to that.
- Tax Consultant
These professionals are known as financial experts with a professional law degree. For this position a lawyer should have –
- An excellent verbal and written communication skills,
- Knowledge in federal as well as state tax laws,
- Good acumen in math,
- Analytical skills in accounting and taxation,
- Profound knowledge in financial software analysis such as – Intuit project management software, spreadsheets,
- Should be detail oriented,
- They may also have an additional degree of B.com/CA/CS/ICW.
- Contract Lawyers
A contract lawyer is a person who works on contractual agreement. Many legal professionals work in financial sectors in contractual agreement like RTI officials, legal consultants. They can be independent professionals or may work on behalf of any law firm. T
To grab such positions in the finance sector one must have in-depth knowledge about banking laws, financial services, corporate laws, consumer protection act, public interest laws, RTI act and also profound experience in this area of work. Almost all public sector banks recruit such professionals periodically.
- HR Manager
With a specialization in Labor law and Business administration a lawyer can pursue a career on HRM in any of the public sectors, commercial, retail and specialized banks. For direct recruitment one may require adequate experience in that area of work which may vary from Bank to Bank.
The vast workforce of Indian banking industry, which is regarded as the strongest assets of the industry, is trained by the HR team.
- The main function of the HR in the banking sector is to provide the improvement in quality performance of the employees.
- HR plays a vital role in determining the competitiveness among the employees within the organization.
- HR contributes in recruitment, operations of banks, bringing out best potentials of employees, placement, rewarding employees, adopting international benchmarks and strategies, integrating human resource strategies along with business and market strategies, upgrading infrastructure of the financial system, upgrading technical infrastructure, managing performance, training and development, recruiting strategies and avoiding errors, creating a learning environment for freshers.
- A lawyer with the credentials of Human resource management is also entrusted with various legal works as well along with responsibilities of an HRM.
- Deputy General Manager of a Bank
For this prestigious post a lawyer must have enough years of experience as a law officer in any financial institution or in providing financial services. A DGM can be recruited by a contractual agreement or for full time in any scheduled commercial banks or government or public sector government undertaking banks or state or central banks.
The Basic Duty of a DGM is to –
- Supervise the management team,
- Supervise and develop the legal team,
- Report briefly to the management team about the new updated enactments by the supreme court or provisions updated in Bank regulations act and how that effect the banking system and its business,
- Give strategic advice to the Bank management including strategic business advice,
- Give reviews on litigation,
- Make reports and reviews on banking policies,
- Formulate Expert opinion,
- Give assurance to legal compliance,
- Make suitable changes required within the organization.
10. Indian Revenue Services
Though it is not a part of banking industry but it is a core part of a finance industry. IRS is a Central civil service under the Ministry of finance. IRS officers are entrusted with major responsibilities to identify evasion of tax. They hold legislative powers to investigate and confiscate unlawfully gathered wealth.
Lawyers are eligible for this post and can appear in IRS recruitment through UPSC examination.
They should have thorough knowledge in general banking system, taxation laws, income tax laws, financial laws, accounts.
Suggestive Read: How to break into finance as a lawyer?
Concisely, a banking solicitor can have wide knowledge in the finance industry or might make choice to expertise in taxation, investment banking, bankruptcy litigation, real estate finance, private equity laws etc. They qualify to practice financial laws by a professional degree in Bachelor’s of Law LLB by enrolling in state bar council exam and obtaining their professional license.
Further, they can move ahead to profound their knowledge by pursuing Masters in law i.e. an LLM degree. Job opportunities for all legal professionals in India are expected to grow faster in Banking industry than usual after the current liquidity shock and change in the system.
It’s all about CHOICE, INTEREST & PURPOSE!!
Banking sector is one of the emerging career opportunities for the lawyers. What do you think about this prospect? Comment Below. Don’t forget to share the article.