Allen & Overy (A&O) has targeted France, Germany and the US to boost its corporate team during 2007.
A&O managing partner David Morley outlined the firm's strategy for 2007, singling out six key markets where growth is needed.
"It's just as important to concentrate on our current offices as it is to open new ones," he said. "We're not in the business of flag-planting."
France, Germany and the US need bulking up, particularly in their corporate offerings, said Morley. The firm's team in Benelux is its only top-class corporate offering.
Morley would not rule out a merger in those jurisdictions, particularly in Germany, where an M&A boutique would be welcomed with open arms.
A&O, unlike the other magic circle firms, has not merged with a German firm. Instead it has pursued a slow organic strategy, meaning the firm has just 19 corporate partners in Germany compared with Clifford Chance's 45.
Morley also flagged up on corporate growth in China, where a focus will be to win domestic Chinese clients. In Russia A&O will concentrate on hiring more lawyers with expertise in equity capital markets to capitalise on the wave of Russian IPOs that is expected.
A&O's 28-lawyer Dubai office is one of its most profitable and the firm wants to increase headcount there. It is also considering launching in other Middle Eastern jurisdictions.