WHEN I succeeded Bill Drummond as managing partner at Brodies just over a year ago, I was very aware of the level of responsibility that would come from leading Scotland’s largest law firm. That responsibility goes beyond running a successful business; it extends to the communities where our colleagues live and work.

As a major contributor to the Scottish economy, the legal sector has a duty to drive the economy forward. But we also have a responsibility to improve access to the jobs that we create. As Nicholas Cheffings, chairman of Prime - a UK-wide alliance committed to improving access to the legal profession – said: talent is everywhere, opportunity is not.

A strong organisation is one that is truly diverse and brings together minds and experiences from across society. In my role as a fellow board member of Prime, I have spoken to many peers leading Scotland’s larger law firms and know this is a view they share. I want to encourage as many Scottish firms as possible to make the Prime commitment and take their part in helping to create more opportunities across our profession.

Many are already, and that collaboration in the sector is important. Our HR director Kirstie Maclennan is currently co-ordinating a Prime project focusing on cold spots across the UK and we are working with a number of other law firms to deliver insight programmes in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow and Inverness. As part of this project, we recently worked with Thorntons to deliver an insight programme in Dundee. Burness Paull, CMS, Dentons, Digby Brown, Irwin Mitchell, MacRoberts, Pinsent Masons and Shepherd & Wedderburn are also making valuable contributions to Prime.

In the last seven years, Brodies has welcomed more than 160 Prime students for work experience. They are inspiring, and their stories inspire us to do more. This autumn one of our first Prime candidates - Ellen Smith - will return to start a traineeship at the firm. I am sure we will begin to hear more success stories like this from other firms across Scotland, just as we have seen more of them from firms in England and Wales.

It is easy to see how important opportunities like Prime are for those who take part. Our job, through structured work experience, is to show students that law is extremely varied. Experiences like Prime can also serve to inspire students to consider not just legal roles but also those fundamental business services which support law firms including HR, IT, marketing and business development. All can foster interesting and successful careers.

Our latest intake of work experience students spent a week at the firm, learning from trainees about what life is like in a law firm, visiting clients, courts and meeting our lawyers. I held a Q&A session with each group of students, which is always good fun and very interesting. From what subjects I took at school, what are the best and worst parts of my job and whether being a lawyer takes up all my time, it’s impossible to predict what I will be asked.

I continue to be impressed by the great attitudes that Prime students come to us with. It’s humbling to play a small part in the lives of young people at a time where they have big decisions to make about their future. To hear feedback including “it was amazing”, “I definitely want to become a lawyer” and “I didn’t know there were so many options in law” is a great thing. We’ve also seen the positive impact of the Prime programme from those of our colleagues who take on roles mentoring Prime alumni after their time with us.

I’m pleased to be able to report that the legal sector in Scotland is opening up to Prime and the insight it can offer to students. There is much more to do. We still have the thank you letter that Ellen Smith and her colleagues wrote to us, some seven years ago following their work experience week, on display. Their words sum up the Prime experience perfectly: “Prime has given us fantastic opportunities and helped us understand the pathways and career options surrounding law. Your generosity and enthusiasm has been greatly appreciated. We only hope others will be able to experience Prime as well.”

Nick Scott is managing partner of Brodies and a Prime board member.