City stalwart Macfarlanes will boost its trainee recruitment rate by 20 per cent over the next year as part of a hiring strategy that focuses more on entry-level than partner appointments.
Macfarlanes will look to recruit around 30 trainees in 2007, five more than its target figure in recent years.
Senior partner Robert Sutton said the firm had also been seeking talent beyond the traditional pool of Oxbridge candidates.
Macfarlanes has had great success in retaining its trainees - it was only one of three top 50 firms that managed a 100 per cent retention rate in 2006.
Head of HR Rob Hind said: "We've decided that our time is better invested in hiring junior lawyers and developing the talent in-house than trying to find that elusive lateral partner."
But in the same week as that statement was made, Macfarlanes found an elusive lateral partner in the form of public law expert Ian Ginbey of Jones Day.
In 2006 Macfarlanes only made one lateral hire in Hammonds head of international benefits Jane Marshall, but it made up four associates to the partnership.
The firm is the third most profitable in the UK after Slaughter and May and Linklaters, with an average profit per equity partner standing at 945,000. Its first-seat trainees are paid 31,000, in line with its City competitors' rates.