Real Lives: Top Edinburgh lawyer lands global role

Derek McCulloch is looking forward to his global role. Picture: contributed
Derek McCulloch is looking forward to his global role. Picture: contributed
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A top Edinburgh lawyer has been appointed as the Europe and Asia chairman of an international association of independent law firms.

Derek McCulloch, 56, who is also head of the commercial division at Gillespie Macandrew LLP, said it was “an honour” to be given the position at Lexwork International, which has offices in major cities located across the world and is made up of a global network of more than 2600 lawyers.

He said: “The prime role of firms in Lexwork International is to support clients doing business outside their domestic market. Lexwork International has member firms in the principal trading zones around the world and the law firm in the country of origin is able to provide active support for their client plus a ‘safe pair of hands’ in the shape of their fellow member firm in the relevant overseas market.

“A good example of this co-operation is a case where a French client of mine called me in Edinburgh regarding problems they had when importing goods from their source manufacturer in Vietnam into Germany. Within two hours our German member had provided advice on solving the impasse.”

Mr McCulloch was born in Edinburgh in 1956, but the family moved to England soon after when his father’s job situation changed. He returned to the Capital to study law at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1979.

He said: “I was drawn to the law because I knew it would include extremely diverse work and allow me to help people and businesses, and I can vicariously enjoy their success.”

He became an apprentice solicitor straight out of university with Gillespie Macandrew, and has remained with the firm since. His work has allowed him to travel all over the world.

He said: “One of my priorities in my new post is to help continue the expansion of our Asian membership to develop Australasian and Pacific Rim opportunities. Another is to engage the younger up-and-coming lawyers within the network and we are looking at a ‘young Lexwork’ network using social media.”

Mr McCulloch has also been prominent in his support of rights for disabled workers and is a trustee for a number of charities.

A keen sports enthusiast, he has raised money for good causes by running marathons, and can also be found training with the British Military Fitness group, which meets in the Meadows two or three times a week.

He said: “I’ve been doing it for about seven years now. It’s the sort of thing that makes you feel young again, being out and about with muddy knees.”

Mr McCulloch and his wife, who live in the south of the Capital and have just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, had further cause for cheer recently when their daughter completed a Masters in medical art.