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How to position yourself for a job with the SEC?

By Edward Honnold

Q: I'm a corporate attorney in a large law firm thinking of applying to the SEC, either in the enforcement division or in the market regulation division. Any suggestions on how to position myself for these jobs? Also, what are some typical career tracks for attorneys with SEC experience? (i.e., what kinds of jobs are available to former SEC attorneys?

A: Legal positions at the SEC are highly competitive, and your chance of securing one will depend on the usual criteria of law school and practice experience. For the SEC as for other federal law jobs, I recommend a two-part strategy of carefully reviewing on-line job listings and direct communication by voice with members of the SEC legal hiring committee (avoid the personnel office, of course). There is no substitute for effective person-to-person networking. Once you have completed your stint at SEC, you will find yourself to be highly marketable among law firms with securities practices. The SEC is one of only a handful of federal government agencies that positions its attorneys well for a return to private practice, or for in-house counsel work. Good luck.

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