Law School Partnership Brings Finance Group’s Certification to Broader Audience

The Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists and Fordham University’s Law School are partnering to bring the Certified Financial Crime Specialist certification to law students and graduates.

One of the ways that the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS) equips its professionals to catch—and ultimately, prevent—financial crimes is through its Certified Financial Crime Specialist (CFCS) certification. The certification is applicable to anyone involved in financial crime compliance, investigations, regulation, and enforcement—including lawyers.

That’s why ACFCS is partnering with Fordham University’s Law School to offer the CFCS certification courses and exam to everyone from law students to seasoned attorneys in a weeklong event, taking place July 24-28, at Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus in New York City.

Back in May 2013, ACFC launched the CFCS in response to the realization that it “wasn’t really achieving the results that we expected as far as thwarting financial crime and money laundering,” said ACFCS Executive Director Garry Clement.

As the fiduciary responsibility of boards, senior executives, and chief compliance officers has expanded, so too has the financial crime risk landscape, according to Clement. The certification aims to take a holistic view of issues like money laundering, fraud, and corruption to give professionals from a variety of backgrounds the knowledge and training they require to face these complicated crimes head-on.

Law students and practicing lawyers are a natural fit for the certification because there are gaps in their education when it comes to financial crimes. “I know that over the years, a lot of prosecutors or ADAs have shied away from financial crime cases,” Clement said. “And they don’t teach financial crime in law school. They might teach the law, but they don’t teach the ingredients.”

Put positively, Clement said that “law firms that have individuals with the requisite skills in financial crime are far better positioned to provide relevant and safe advice to companies that are running into regulatory issues.”

ACFCS and Fordham will collaborate on the instruction of the course, from July 24 through 27. On July 28, the association will offer the exam.

“The demand for qualified financial crimes compliance professionals is increasing daily, it seems,” said Alice BrightSky, senior director of compliance programs at Fordham Law School, in a press release. “And given our location in the financial center of the world and the financial services sector’s role in helping to safeguard the financial system from abuse, Fordham Law School decided to deliver focused professional training on this topic. The partnership with ACFCS is a natural one, which we believe will give students and professionals a leg up in this ever-evolving field.”

ACFCS and Fordham hope to build on the success of this initial partnership in the future. The association is also in talks with other universities on formalizing similar partnerships.

Clement lauds Fordham for recognizing the value in the partnership. “In the next five years, there is going to be 1.2 million vacancies [in cybercrime], so if we’re going to fill those and meet the needs of society, universities need to step up and look at how to adapt their programs and look at partnerships in order to properly educate and properly provide the skills that are going to be needed in the society and give opportunities for students to graduate and have gainful employment and make a good living.”


Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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