Profile: Kenneth Pritchard
Kenneth Pritchard OBE, secretary of the Law Society of Scotland for 21 years, was made an honorary member of the Society on retiring in 1997
What motivated you to study law?
I was brought up in Dundee in a legal family. As a teenager in the school holidays to earn a bit of pocket money, I went into the family office and did all sorts of menial tasks, and when I was occasionally allowed to sit in on a partner meeting with a client, I came to the conclusion that this was quite an interesting way of making a living. So, on leaving school I went to St Andrews University to study law.
What drew you to the role of secretary in the Law Society of Scotland?
I went to the Society’s AGMs and became interested in the work of the Society. I was invited to join a couple of committees, which increased my interest in that work. In 1976, the first secretary of the Society, Robert B Laurie OBE intimated his retiral and so started the process of finding a replacement. I never had the slightest intention of leaving my practice in Dundee, but I was persuaded to apply. After a number of interviews, I was fortunate to be appointed and took office on 1 September 1976. It was a decision I have never regretted.
Looking back, what do you see as the most significant changes or milestones affecting the Scottish legal profession since you started out?
There have been so many important developments, greater equality of opportunity for women in the profession for example, and the introduction of compulsory professional indemnity insurance in 1980, was in my view a boon and blessing to the profession. The Law Society of Scotland was the first law society in the world to have compulsory professional indemnity insurance.
What does honorary membership of the Society mean to you?
My life as solicitor in Scotland has been full, in the most part enjoyable but above all very satisfying. To be appointed an honorary member of the Society in 1997 was for me the greatest privilege.
If you could ensure one change for the future of the Scottish legal profession, what would that be?
For me that is easy. It is that legal aid both civil and criminal be remunerated at a full and economic rate and that it be paid within a month of the lodging of the account. Dentists on the NHS get their fees paid in a matter of two to three weeks!