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

Geoff James Clarke QC, lawyer. Born: May 3 1966. Died: January 27 2022 on Traprain Law, East Lothian, aged 55

Geoff Clarke practised Tai chi daily

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

He began his career path at North Berwick High School and went on to Edinburgh University and the Royal Medical Society, making friends wherever he went.

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After qualifying as a young lawyer he joined Simpson and Marwick and made the most of the opportunity, gaining the respect of clients and colleagues alike.

He went on to become an advocate, a role he enjoyed greatly until, in 2008, 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 relished the opportunity to work behind the scenes of the institution that so inspired him.

Throughout his time within Faculty he enjoyed building relationships with people at every level.

Geoff loved to teach, support and encourage students. He enjoyed leading the Diploma in Legal Practice and was always quick to volunteer for training and conferences. He supported colleagues in any way he could, making time for anyone who asked. He was a friend to so many folk, from all walks of life.

One of the things that underpinned his legal practice was a willingness to always go that step further, to hear the voice of those who may perhaps be overlooked, with no assumptions made. Geoff was loyal to friends and family, and his kindness and generosity were legendary.

He 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.

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Geoff was creative and while it was not perhaps considered his highest achievement by others, he made his family laugh when he repeatedly told everyone he did “higher art” at school.

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

Geoff inherited his father’s love of martial arts, taking up Tae Kwan Do while at school. He later developed a great love for judo and attended Edinburgh Judo club. Later in life he learned and practised Tai chi daily.

Place was very important to Geoff. He was anchored in North Berwick with a pride and passion.

Shetland and America were favourite spots to visit – he had family and friends in both places. Ireland and Kenmore were both to became favourites also, when he married and started a family.

Geoff’s love of walking, climbing hills and enjoying nature was fundamental to his being – he died while out walking on Traprain Law.

Out of the many words that could be used to describe Geoff, 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 is survived by his beloved family – wife Kelly, sons Kieran and Calum, mother Betty, sister Mari and brother Graham and their families, as well as his wider family worldwide.


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