Moira Gilmour

Published 8th July 2014
The late Moira Gilmour’s remarkable achievements in the legal profession are made all the more laudable by the atypicality of her background. Born to shopkeeper parents and granddaughter to coal miners, she attended the local comprehensive before becoming the first member of her family to attend university, or indeed move out of the 10 mile radius of their home town. Moira studied French, German and philosophy on a scholarship at Glasgow University, before undertaking an MA and LLB in Law. Moira herself described this move as merely accidental; she felt she ought to pursue a vocational career, and picked law over medicine simply because several friends of hers were converting to the legal profession.

After qualifying as a lawyer in 1981, Moira worked at Scottish firm McGrigor Donald for several years. She first became a partner during her time at Kennedys, and enjoyed a 14 year partnership at Field Fisher Waterhouse. When Moira became their managing partner in 2006, she was one of only a few women to manage a leading UK law firm. Under her stewardship, the firm went from strength to strength, with turnover increasing from £60 million to £94 million, and partnership size doubling. Moira also orchestrated and oversaw an ambitious expansion onto the continent, opening offices in Belgium, France and Germany, as well as making strides in pro bono and social responsibility work closer to home – she never forgot her background and strove to help those in similar circumstances to see what it was possible for them to achieve. Moira was diagnosed with cancer and sadly died in 2012, leaving behind a law firm stronger than she found it: her ethos of pairing robust commitment to social mobility with steely and ambitious determination to succeed was imprinted on the firm irrecoverably.

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