A LAWYER who grew up in Helensburgh and attended Hermitage Academy has led her firm to a major international award.

Nicola Benz, 42, has been the managing partner at Froreip since 2016. The Swiss branch of the company were awarded the title of Law Firm of the Year 2018 at The Lawyer European Awards in London on March 15.

The patent and technology lawyer was raised in Helensburgh by her parents, Susan and Kenneth Speirs.

Kenneth, 75, told her former teachers about the achievement recently.

He said: “I passed a copy of it to the head master of Hermitage because they could use it for publicity of their own former pupil’s successes.

“It shows what a state school can achieve, it’s not all about having to go to the expensive ones.

“I’ve told my brothers and friends but it’s really more her teachers that are still around who would be glad to see that she has made a success.”

While she was at Hermitage Academy, Nicola was awarded the Dux prize for her academic achievements.

She later went on to study a LLB Honours degree in law at the University of Edinburgh.

“She’s always been an achiever,” Kenneth continued.

“She likes challenges. She used to love beating the boys at chess at school.

“She’s always driven herself. She collected a load of the prizes at university and she had a year in Belgium on the ERASMUS scheme and that’s where she got the continental idea.”

Nicola lives in Zurich with her husband August and their children, aged nine and six.

Kenneth admitted that he didn’t know Nicola was in London for the awards, so was surprised when he received a photo on the Whatsapp social media network showing his daughter with the trophy.

He said: “She really has done very well. The company were in trouble when they lost a third of their partners – they had a serious cash flow problem, and she was elected managing partner and managed to turn it around.

“She didn’t know they were going to win it until they were announced. They were on a shortlist of seven and then they were selected.”