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Pinsent Masons loses 'great friend'

Death of senior Scottish lawyer Kirk Murdoch


Kirk Murdoch: distinguished career


Kirk Murdoch, one of Scotland’s best-known lawyers, has died after an illness.

Mr Murdoch, Scotland and Northern Ireland chairman at Pinsent Masons, played a pivotal role in the firm’s development.

He joined McGrigor Donald where he became a partner in 1982, and went on to serve as the firm’s managing partner and later as its senior partner.

He was one of the primary architects of the merger between Pinsent Masons and McGrigors in 2012, and subsequently sat on the firm’s board, until stepping back late last year. 

During an illustrious career with the firm he played a critical role in the development of the business, its client relationships and its people – all of which he was deeply passionate about.

Outside work he was a committed sportsman. He captained Ayr Rugby Club in his youth and was an accomplished golfer, becoming a member of Troon Prestwick and latterly Archerfield.

He remained committed to the region throughout his life and sat on the board of Ayr Renaissance, an organisation championing the regeneration of Ayr town centre. He was also on the board of the Beatson, a leading cancer care centre based in Glasgow.

Richard Foley, senior partner of Pinsent Masons, said: “For very many years, Kirk has been a huge influence in our firm. He was a natural leader and his ambition for the firm – and indeed for the wider Scottish legal profession – marked him out as one of the most distinguished lawyers of his generation. 

“He had an incredibly positive influence in shaping the careers of so many and we will miss him dreadfully. He was unfailingly courteous and thoughtful and was blessed with a great sense of humour.  So many of us turned to him for wise counsel.  We have lost a great friend and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Details of funeral and memorial arrangements will be provided in due course.


I last interviewed Kirk in 2013, not in his office, but in the Cafe Royal, one of Edinburgh’s popular hostelries.

In truth, he was comfortable in a pub because he grew up in one, spending his childhood years among the farming and mining folk in the Hollybush Inn, the focal point of an east Ayrshire hamlet.

He told me: “I remember the political debate, the smoke-filled rooms, the dominoes and darts.”

They were, he said, happy days – even the times when he was called upon by his parents to help to shovel the you-know-what after the local hunt had passed through.

“I have been shovelling it ever since,” he joked.

In fact he always harboured hopes of becoming a lawyer and after studying at Edinburgh University he was enrolled by McGrigor Donald and stayed with the practice through its various incarnations and eventual merger with Pinsent Masons.

He admitted to being a little sentimental about dropping the McGrigors name but accepted that it didn’t carry much weight beyond Scotland’s Central Belt.

“It was emotionally challenging,” he said. “but I knew it was the right thing to do. A lot of great Scottish names have disappeared – Whinney Murray, Thomson McLintock.”

Beyond his commitment to the firm, Kirk was an accomplished sportsman, a passionate Ayrshireman and a devoted family man.

He was a great friend to Scotland, the legal profession and the wider business community who will all mourn his passing.


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