HAVING replaced Bill Drummond as managing partner of Brodies in May, Nick Scott had big shoes to fill.

Not only had Mr Drummond run the firm for two decades, he had transformed it into Scotland’s largest independent legal practice too.

Now that he is in full control, though, Mr Scott is concerned not just with ensuring the firm continues to develop and progress, but that the entire Scottish legal profession does.

As the only Scottish representative on the board of PRIME, a UK-wide project aimed at widening access to the legal profession, Mr Scott plans to use his position to encourage firms in all parts of the country to sign up.

Read more: Brodies gears up for management change as Drummond steps back

The idea behind the initiative is that firms offer work experience and mentoring to school children from areas that have not historically been famed for producing law graduates.

With lawyers typically coming from the type of background that includes private education and family members in the profession, the point of the scheme is to make the sector more reflective of the communities it serves than it has been up to now.

This is important, Mr Scott said, because while “talent is everywhere, opportunity is not”.

“There are talented people everywhere but they don’t always get the opportunities their talents deserve,” he explained.

Having signed up to PRIME at launch in 2011, Brodies has provided work experience to over 115 students in the time since, with one of the first to come through its doors about to return to the firm as a trainee.

“I’d like there to be more stories like that across the profession,” Mr Scott said.

“Our industry needs to start punching a bit more above its weight than it does at the moment and we need to encourage more firms in Scotland to do that

“There’s an issue with geographic reach and cold spots. Scotland has quite a few cold spots but we need firms to be engaged right across Scotland.”

Read more: Top profit share at Brodies hits £522k pre-bonus

Internally, Mr Scott is focusing on delivering the firm’s new three-year strategy, which is aimed at sustaining the momentum that has just seen Brodies deliver its eight consecutive year of turnover growth.

In the 12 months to the end of April the firm attracted revenues of £68.6 million, with the figure sitting three per cent higher than the £66.7m it generated in 2016/17.

That means the firm is now almost twice as big as it was in April 2010, when the run began. Having seen turnover drop by 8% to £35.8m in the 2009/10 year, the firm posted an increase of 9% the following year and has recorded growth in each of the financial years since.

The growth has been profitable too, with the amount of profit available for distribution among partners rising 3.5% in the last year to £32.9m.

With the firm’s partnership now standing at 97, that equates to an average distribution of just under £340,000.

At the beginning of the eight-year growth period the firm’s 63 partners shared profits of £12.7, giving an average payment of around £202,000.

Mr Scott described the firm’s latest set of results as “satisfying”, adding that he was particularly pleased that “every part of our business managed to make progress”.

“Every practice area did make progress over that piece in terms of turnover and contribution to the business,” he said.

He added that the firm’s Aberdeen office was performing well on the back of signs that activity in the oil and gas sector is starting to come back.

“Our Aberdeen business is a broad church – it’s a different market and there are different firms that we compete against up there,” he said.

“Family and private client are doing well and as the market starts to recover we can see signs of the real estate market starting to come back.”

Read more: Brodies continues to build up its cash reserves

Looking ahead to the next three years. Mr Scott said that despite many independent Scottish firms being taken over by international players in recent years, he feels there is “still plenty of opportunity for Scottish-headquartered firms to succeed”.

“We plan to do that ourselves and we look forward to seeing some other firms in the Scottish market making progress as well,” he added.

Brexit will have a bearing on that but it will create opportunities as well as challenges.”