Macfarlanes eschews laterals for youth policy

City stalwart Macfarlanes will boost its trainee recruitment rate by 20 per cent in the next year as part of a recruitment strategy that will focus on entry-level lawyers rather than partner hires.

Macfarlanes will look to recruit around 30 trainees this year, five more than its target figure in recent years. Senior partner Robert Sutton also said the firm had 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 last year.

Head of HR Rob Hind told The Lawyer: “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.”

In 2006 the firm made one lateral hire in Hammonds head of international benefits Jane Marshall, but promoted four associates to the partnership.

The firm is the third most profitable in the UK after Linklaters and Slaughter and May, with a profit per equity partner of £945,000. Its first-seat trainees are paid £31,000, in line with its City competitors.