Risk and Compliance Lawyer

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Washington, D.C., USA

Full time

May 18

This job is no longer accepting applications.

The Firm

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is a major international law firm, providing business law advice of the highest quality. We want to be the law firm that clients turn to for legal advice where it matters most, wherever in the world that may be. The Firm has over 2,800 lawyers around the world, providing a comprehensive service to national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments.

Our people make our firm - we are a people business and want to create a welcoming and supportive environment where all can flourish. We see diversity as a strength which creates fresh perspectives and generates new ideas. We enjoy our work and are determined to do an outstanding job. We deliver best when working in teams.

We think and work globally - we don’t just say we are one firm; we act like one firm right across the world. We work wherever our clients need us. This is how we define ourselves, not by reference to where we have offices. Cross-border work isn’t just what we do, it is what we excel at. We understand what it really takes to work across different legal systems and commercial environments and to bridge language and cultural gaps.

We aim to add value in everything we do - we are passionate about helping our clients succeed. We use our experience and creativity to help clients make judgements and achieve their goals. In everything we do, we seek to make a real difference to the communities in which we operate.

The Legal Department

This department, made up of both qualified lawyers and non-lawyers, exists to manage the firm’s risk exposure and to provide advice to the firm on a range of legal and compliance issues.

The role of the Legal Department is to support the firm in pursing the effective management of regulatory, legal, operational, and information security risk so as to preserve and maximise the value of the firm over the long term. We do this by taking responsibility for a range of actions, by sharing in the performance of others and by assisting partners and staff to manage risk themselves through training, awareness raising and the provision of relevant intelligence, services and materials.

Our vision is for our department to be recognized as a leader amongst comparable, elite, law firms. That means being acknowledged internally as providing an excellent service in a commercial and empathetic manner. It means adequately meeting the needs of the firm while remaining agile and cost effective; constantly refining our techniques, objectives and ways of working to respond to changes in the business and the threats we face.

The Risk & Compliance Lawyer plays a key role as a member of the firm’s Legal Department, which manages the firm’s risk exposure and provides advice to the firm on a range of legal and compliance issues relating to business acceptance (including conflicts of interest, confidentiality, client due diligence, sanctions issues, reputational and commercial risk) as well as other issues, such as contracting, commercial risks, client engagement terms, local ethical and regulatory issues, and firm policies and practice.

Key Responsibilities and Deliverables

Advise the partnership on business acceptance issues relating to conflicts of interest, confidential information, reputational risk and sanctions issues globally, to assess the business suitability of potential new matters and new clients.

Undertake due diligence and reputational risk assessment of new clients and matters.

Assist the partnership with solutions to resolve conflicts, confidentiality, reputational and commercial risk, anti-money laundering (AML) compliance and sanctions issues including assistance with drafting waivers and maintaining information barriers.

Answer questions from partners, associates and staff at all levels across the firm regarding US law, regulations and firm policies pertaining to conflicts of interest, ethics and regulatory compliance.

Review and advise on client engagement letters and outside counsel guidelines, particularly with respect to conflicts of interest and US applicable law and regulation.

Advise the partnership on ad hoc queries relating to ethics and regulatory compliance including audit letters, securities dealing, anti-bribery regulations, outside appointments, qualification and practice of law, attorney advertising, fee-sharing and other fee arrangements.

Assist in review of incoming lateral hires for potential conflicts of interest.

Remain current on the type of work that Freshfields undertakes across all sectors and join a sector team in at least two sectors building strong and trusted relationships with Sector Group Leaders.

Understand the regulatory frameworks the firm operates in globally, particularly developments in New York, DC and the US nationally, and the Firm’s client base.

Develop and maintain close working relationship with all members of the Legal Department to ensure operation in a consistent and global manner.

Assist with training to the firm on risk issues (including New Hire Induction Training and Intapp system training) and be an ambassador for the Legal Department within the wider firm.

Assist with the development and implementation of business acceptance processes as part of Legal Department and firm-wide programs.

Key Requirements 

Must hold a law degree and be admitted to practice law in the US.

Must be used to working to very high standards of accuracy and efficiency, but balanced with a practical, common sense approach.

Must be able to give clear and commercial advice succinctly (verbally and in writing) on complex issues.

Must have excellent drafting skills.

Must have a meticulous approach to maintaining concise, up-to-date and accurate records of matters dealt with and advice provided.

Must be able to influence and liaise with all levels of both legal and support staff to resolve complex issues including delivering difficult messages on occasion.

Must be able to manage a workload of key projects as well as day-to-day queries.

Must have a high level of IT skills, including familiarity with applications such as Word, Outlook and Excel as well as web-based and general research skills

Must be willing to work out of hours (including weekends) and travel as needed to serve the requirements of the global firm. 


Strong analytical skills and ability to grasp relevant issues quickly and to understand complex conflicts and regulatory issues, within a commercial context.

Combination of confidence, presence and a diplomatic manner.

Reputation as a proactive problem solver, who applies pragmatic commercial thinking to every issue, and always strives to identify workable solutions that conform with the firm’s regulatory obligations, and are aligned with its business priorities.

Fast thinker, quick learner who is able to work efficiently and assess options thoroughly;

Excellent communicator who articulates advice confidently and succinctly.

Demonstrates high level of confidentiality, integrity and professionalism.

Positive can-do attitude, enthusiasm and the ability to perform.

Team player who others respect and enjoy working with.

Superb organizational skills complemented by the ability to prioritize and multi-task effectively.

Commitment to continuous improvement in a personal and departmental context and willingness to recommend or embrace change to achieve the firm and department’s objectives.

Ability to strategically identify new systems and procedures to improve the quality and efficiency of the department (e.g. new and creative solutions to common problems, suggesting policy updates or drafting FAQs)

Diplomatic and professional demeanor with an understanding of how to influence and operate across a global firm including the local, cultural, client, practice or market-specific nuances or considerations that inform the work of the Legal Department as a whole.


At least 4 years’ experience working as a qualified lawyer within a leading international law firm.

Experience working as a lawyer in the compliance, conflicts, risk management or business acceptance department of a large or international law firm or similar background in risk management or professional responsibility/attorney ethics.

Experience working in a large international team based across a number of locations.

Job Details

Seniority Level



Law Practice

Employment Type


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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is a global law firm with a long-standing track record of successfully supporting the world's leading national and mult...