Obituary: Geoff Clarke QC, Scottish advocate and Chairman of Faculty Services

Geoff Clarke practiced Tai chi daily

There is no description that would aptly sum up Geoff Clarke. Geoff had a thirst for learning, his voracious reading of him fueling his passion for history and storytelling. He read and pursued the law, building on the strong moral code he learned from his parents of him Owen and Betty.

His quick wit and humour, coupled with a love of terrible jokes, was appreciated by friends and family.

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He was very excited to join the team as a young lawyer at Simpson and Marwick. I have achieved the role and the friends I have found there. Later he was very proud to become an advocate and enjoyed that role very much, until 2008, when he was thrilled to take silk and become a Queen’s Counsel.

In recent years he took on the role of Chairman of Faculty Services. He has realized the opportunity to work behind the scenes of the institution that so inspired him. Throughout his time within the Faculty he enjoyed building relationships with all the people at every level within the Faculty of Advocates.

He never forgot his somewhat humble roots and was very proud to say that he started his career path at North Berwick High School. Geoff greatly valued the friends for life he made there, those he met at Edinburgh University and the Royal Medical Society, those he met later as a young lawyer and those he met throughout his remarkable life.

Geoff loved to teach, support and encourage students. He enjoyed teaching the Diploma in Legal Practice and was always quick to volunteer for training, conferences and support in any way he could, making time for anyone who asked.

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He was a friend to so many people, from all walks of life. Perhaps one of the things that underpinned his legal practice was to always go that step further, to hear the voice of those who may perhaps be overlooked with no assumptions made. Loyal to friends and family, Geoff’s kindness and generosity of him was legendary, no matter how much he tried to hide it.

Geoff loved music, playing the guitar and singing loudly. He was usually one of the first on the dance floor, particularly at a ceilidh or wedding. He was creative and while it was not perhaps considered by others, as his highest achievement of him, he made his family laugh when he repeatedly told everyone he did “higher art” at school.

He inherited his father’s love of martial arts, starting with Tae Kwan Do while at school. I have developed a great love for judo and attended Edinburgh Judo club. Later in life he learned and practiced Tai chi daily.

Place was very important to Geoff. He was anchored in North Berwick with a pride and passion that could only come from deep love and connection. He felt that love, also, for Shetland and America, through times spent with family and friends who lived there. Ireland and Kenmore were both to became favorites also, when he married and started a family. Geoff’s love of walking, climbing hills and enjoying nature was core to his being him – he died while walking on Traprain Law.

Out of the many words that could be used to describe Geoff, perhaps the word “advocate” perhaps describes him best. He was an advocate for all, particularly the misunderstood, the mischievous, the “underdog” or those unable to speak for themselves.

He leaves behind wife Kelly, sons Kieran and Calum, mother Betty, sister Mari and brother Graham and families, as well as his wider family worldwide.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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