Charting a Course into International Law

Guest blogger Michael Rasmussen, Esq., Chief Compliance Officer & Deputy General Counsel
for
 a Florida financial services firm, takes on the QLTS in his pursuit of an elevated international career path.

When I graduated from Nova Southeastern University – Shepard Broad College of Law in 2012, I had a pretty solid strategy for myself. I wanted to get on board with an in-house legal department and set my career firmly in motion.

Having done well in several securities law classes in school, I was able to get my start in the securities industry as an Examiner with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. From there, I went on to work with several compliance services companies before landing my current role in in-house counsel for a financial services firm. I focus exclusively on compliance matters in the registered investment adviser and broker-dealer space. It was a difficult industry to get in to, but I see many great opportunities here.

Although my early strategy has proven to be a fairly good one and I enjoy what I’m doing, the notion of learning a new legal system had become appealing in the last year or so. I wanted to stretch myself intellectually and professionally by taking on a significant new challenge. That’s how I arrived at the decision to move my career trajectory international and qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales through the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme (QLTS) assessments.

Some Words of Wisdom

I sat part one of the two-part QLTS exam, the Multiple Choice Test (MCT), this past July with good success. I would compare the MCT portion of the QLTS to the Multistate Bar Exam in the U.S., except that the MCT covers more topics in less depth. Every learner is different in their preparation, but I found the multiple-choice questions offered in the QLTS Prep by BARBRI course to be extremely helpful.

My MCT exam was conducted in a standard test-taking centre in New York City, where basic proctored exam rules were enforced (e.g., put your computer away before the exam, do not discuss exam materials with others). As a relatively fast test taker who doesn’t spend much time re-reading questions, one frustration I had with this specific exam is that it is to be taken collectively with other test takers with no ability to start or leave early. The exam can be especially stressful for some people, so be prepared to deal with other test takers who may not be their best selves on test day.

Thinking Ahead

With the MCT portion of the QLTS now behind me, I’m very much looking forward to having the ability to practise law on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. My belief is that an international law career will open many new doors for me to enhance the service offerings of my employer.

Once I complete the second part of the QLTS assessments, I anticipate leveraging my additional qualification as a solicitor in England and Wales in a manner that will help my firm seek out clients and relationships in areas that would otherwise not be available. On to the OSCE!