Solicitor Alex Lafferty has retired after nearly 40 years as a legal practitioner in East Lothian.
Born and raised in Croy, North Lanarkshire, he studied hard before earning a place at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he read Philosophy and Theology for fours years from 1967.
He then spent a year teaching English to secondary school students in Motherwell while playing junior football for Cumbernauld United before beginning to study for a law degree for two years.
He served an apprenticeship at Caesar & Howie solicitors in Bathgate and then went to work for Edinburgh-based practice Constable and Company, but was soon running his own firm after only a couple of years in the field.
He said: “Constable and Company wanted to set up a branch office in Tranent. Nobody was willing to go and I had just joined them in early 1976. I said I’d go. The firm shut down and I took over the entire practice. I went down to the local Royal Bank of Scotland on High Street to ask if they could finance me.”
Mr Lafferty set up home with his wife Anne in the Carlaverock area of Tranent in 1977 before moving to Gullane three years later. Their three children Paul, Steven and Michelle were all brought up in East Lothian.
He changed the name of the firm to Alex Lafferty and Co and it became a well-known fixture in Tranent High Street.
Mr Lafferty said he loved the area. “I love the variety of people. We’ve always involved ourselves in the community, especially when our kids were at Gullane Primary School and North Berwick High School. All the people in Tranent, I’d love to think they could speak to me in the street and recognise me.”
Over the years he has seen many cases. “The World’s End murders were one of the busiest times in East Lothian’s history,” he said.
But having suffered a heart attack a few years ago and having had two full hip replacements and with his 65th birthday coming up later this year, Mr Lafferty decided it was the right time to pass on the reins to one of his staff, Mary Moultrie.
He also cited recent developments within law as additional factors in his decision. He said: “The likely closure of Haddington Sheriff Court and the downturn in the legal aid system are things that have affected me.”
Following his retirement, he is pleased to have the time to spend with his family, especially with the arrival of his first grandchild, Kara, 18 months ago.
He said: “My son and my grandchild live out in China, we’ve been out there once before and it was lovely so I’m looking forward to getting out there again now.”
The family man also alluded to getting back in touch with another one of his great loves: “Golf is one word that comes to mind now. It’ll be great to get back out on the course.”