Arthur Andersen-tied law firm Garretts has taken on its first batch of trainees in its four-year history.
The 17 trainees, almost all from provincial universities, will be joining the firm's offices in Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester and Reading.
Up until now Garretts has grown to become a 128-fee earner firm through the lateral hiring of qualified assistants and partners.
Julia Chain, Garretts' managing partner, claimed that the arrival of the firm's first ever graduates "marks a significant stage in our development".
Garretts' Cambridge-based training manager Richard King, who developed the training programme, said the association with Andersens meant his programme would be different from other law firm training programmes. They will have the usual training in knowledge and technical skills, client development and handling but trainees will also benefit from some of the same training as their tax and accountancy colleagues at Arthur Andersen.
He said he was also looking at seconding trainees to other law firms in Andersens' international legal network.
The firm says it has already signed up 20 trainees for next year's September intake and expects to almost double that amount for 1999.
Garretts made five assistants up to partner last week in five divisions; commercial litigation, IP and IT, construction, corporate and human capital services.