Moving from Big Law to RX IB

Ignore intern title - i'm currently a 3rd year associate at a top US law firm in London (V15 for the American audience). Have worn a few hats so i'm technically not 'group specific' but have mainly done M&A and PE with some limited exposure to RX during my second year. Did 2 PE internships in undergrad (not law). Interested in transitioning/recruiting for RX IB positions and have a few questions:

  1. How can I go about this process? Should I use recruiters or is it too untraditional? In general, how common is it to see corporate lawyers move to IB at my stage?

  2. What title/level would I enter as? If let's say I come in as a 3rd/4th year associate with my firm, would I be a 1st year associate or analyst? How does this play if I wait a few years (have heard of through someone that a V10 M&A 7th year associate came in as VP at a BB a few years back)

  3. What should I expect on the interviewing side? I prepped for IB SA positions back in uni so I have a decent knowledge of accounting and building out comps etc but what about RX specific stuff? 

Any other info is helpful thanks


Based on the most helpful WSO content, here's some advice for your transition from Big Law to RX IB:

  1. The process of transitioning from law to investment banking is not unheard of, but it does require strategic planning. You could definitely use recruiters, but networking will be key. Reach out to people in the industry, attend events, and make connections.

  2. The level you enter at would depend on the firm and your experience. It's possible that you could enter as an associate given your years of experience in law, but this can vary.

  3. As for the interview, you should expect questions on your understanding of restructuring, why you're interested in it, and how your skills from law can translate into this new role. You should also brush up on your financial modeling and valuation skills, as these are crucial in RX.

Remember, every transition is unique and these are just general guidelines. Good luck with your career move!

Sources: Thoughts on Restructuring Groups?, Rx Law to Rx Banking or Buyside, Recruiting for RX FT after M&A virtual internship?, Choosing RX over M&A -- anyone recommend this?

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

I think you have a shot considering that lawyers who make the change have 2-3 years of experience, my only concern is that those lawyers tend to come from V5 firms, not sure how applicable is for V5-V15. But anyway:

1. Read Distressed Debt by Moyer and Houlihan Lokey's case on The Troubled Company (without neglecting the typical IB technical questions).

2. This may be quite simple, but be sure you're comfortable answering those:…

3. I would look through my network or I'll try to network with people who work in RX groups and ask for a referral. Otherwise, try with a recruiter, but generally, the more paths you use to recruit the greater the chance of making the shift so I see no harm in using every option that you may have access to.

You'll probably start as an Associate, VP no way. 


Thanks. How are lawyers making the transition generally viewed? Is it that we’re viewed as competent but without mathematical abilities?


great work ethic, responsible/reliable, and transactional-focused mindset, but they lack proper financial numeracy skills 

because put it another way, why the shift to IB RX, that is primarily financial numeracy, when you could do the legal side of RX which is clearly where your strengths/skills & expertise is? that's why the story around the shift is so important and must sound plausible

Most Helpful

From what i've seen (all London)

1. Non Equity Partner at K&E (Rx) moved to Centrebridge after preparing for a year (4 years of NEP experience)

2. v5 PQE1 -> EB analyst -> merger arb at a pod shop

3. Magic Circle PQE 1/2??? -> Oxford Law and Finance -> EB analyst 1 

4. Magic Circle NQ -> BB Analyst 1 

You're going to get downgraded given you don't have the numerical skills. I'd move asap if I could. 

You should be reaching out to bankers you personally know and have them refer you (don't think headhunters will help at this stage). 

Good luck


The jump seems big if you're not already in Rx BigLaw? 

In the banking perspective, Rx is the more technical brother of your bog standard IB kid. You'll need to prep for Rx-specific technicals and they are not getting any easier year by year. I would say you are required to have more financial fluidity and understanding than your standard IB technicals. As said above, read Moyer (Moyer was a Stanford Law grad and BigLaw Rx lawyer I think from memory) and the case study by HL

But, why Rx banking? Why not IB? It's more frequent that BigLaw lawyers at your stage might look to join as an Associate at an EB Investment Banking, given your experiences in IB/PE law already. It's a more well-trodden path than what you're envisaging (the rather steep Rx jump). Well, maybe not IB in this current market (who knows) but I don't see how you would join as an Associate in Rx if you aren't bringing much Rx experience with you to the bank. 

Realistically, you'd be lucky at all to be an Associate in Rx (definitely possible as an Associate in IB) with a high possibility of having to start from square 1 as an Analyst for Rx. This is purely because your exposure to Rx is limited as you mentioned and if anything, it seems like you qualified into Corporate rather than Rx at your law firm.

Correct me if I'm wrong - here to help.


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