Think about what you bring to the table. Everyone is unique, including you, and you bring your own perspectives and skills. Embrace those instead of following someone else’s example.
Nik Takacs is a Senior Counsel at Visa supporting all aspects of Visa’s compliance program, including anti-money laundering, sanctions, anti-corruption, export controls, political law, and business conduct.
Prior to joining Visa, Nik was an anti-money laundering and sanctions counsel at Wells Fargo. Before moving to in-house, Nik worked as an attorney in the international practice group of Armstrong Teasdale, where he represented clients in governmental investigations related to import, export, and sanctions laws.
Nik is a long-time supporter of CMCP and is looking forward to serving as the 2022 chair of CMCP’s Ambassadors Council.
Why did you decide to become a CMCP Ambassador?
To give back to a community that has been so supportive to me. When I moved to California, I did not have much of a professional network, but I had a boss who was very involved with CMCP and encouraged me to join. CMCP has been not only an incredible professional network but also a great support system. My fellow ambassadors are amazing attorneys and I’m proud to serve with them.
Why did you decide to become a compliance attorney?
I didn’t plan on becoming a compliance counsel when I decided I wanted to practice law or even in my early years as an attorney. As a Spanish speaker and an international relations major in college, I vaguely knew that I wanted to do something “international” but had little idea of what that meant in practice. Once I started practicing in international trade law at a law firm and compliance counseling became a part of my practice, I realized how much I liked helping companies manage complex legal issues as they expanded globally.
As a compliance counsel, there are very few black letter law answers, so I enjoy the challenge of helping my clients make informed risk-based decisions that will help them succeed.
What extracurricular professional activities have had the most impact on you or your profession?
CMCP has had a profound impact on my professional development. It has been a great way to meet and build relationships with fellow attorneys of color throughout the State, and to learn strategies and tips for succeeding in the legal profession.
What challenges have you encountered that you’d like to mitigate for the next generation?
Growing up, I didn’t have any mentors who were attorneys who could help me navigate my chosen career path. Fortunately, through my law school’s Latin American Law Students Association, I met a Latino alumni attorney who took a chance on me and gave me an opportunity to clerk at his law firm. Black and Latinx attorneys are still incredibly underrepresented in our profession, and I want to do whatever I can to help these attorneys advance in their career and become partners at their law firms or general counsels at corporate legal departments.