Anderson Strathern pays tribute to partner John Kerr.
It was with a real sense of sadness that we learned of the death of our partner John Kerr on 17 March following a short illness. John was a wise, knowledgeable counsel to his clients, his colleagues and his fellow partners. His encyclopaedic knowledge on almost everything and anything his colleagues or clients could ask him about never failed to astound and we all benefited from it.
In the modern era of developing an early specialism in the law, John was part of that previous group who began their life in the law with a broad legal practice. This early training and experience meant he could advise clients on many cross-sector legal areas. Although John’s later working life was spent as a corporate lawyer, his expertise spread across sport, education, charities, governance and much, much more.
John began his legal career in 1978 as an apprentice at Strathern & Blair (one of our pre-merger firms). He qualified and was accepted into the Writers to the Signet Society in 1980, becoming a partner in 1984. John then became a partner of Anderson Strathern following the merger with J & F Anderson in 1992 and he served on our board for many years. John was, of course, a stalwart of our corporate team, always happy to talk through and provide the legal advice needed and usually bringing an extra dimension to it – something his many clients over the years really appreciated.
His love of sport was seen in his earlier playing days and through developing a specialist practice in sports law which saw him recognised with a top tier ranking in the legal directories. He displayed the competitive commitment and passion found in all successful players and teams to the law, to his family, his colleagues and to his clients. Outside of work he enjoyed all kind of sports and was a keen golfer. He was also a great rugby fan – as a supporter, lawyer for the SRU and as a player in his youth.
As our partner Alun Thomas recollected and reflected: “My earliest memories of John will have been at university where he was one of the bigger boys in the Law Faculty rugby team. I think we played together only briefly, but he was always friendly, open and welcoming as he was to be for the rest of his life.”
John was a pioneer for the firm, leading our venture into collaborations with European law firms which saw us join the Association of European Lawyers on which John sat on the executive committee. He was a director of the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel and a charity trustee of John Watson’s Trust. John was also a friend and mentor to many young lawyers.
Our chair, Bruce Farquhar, who joined our corporate department in 2001, was one of the many, many lawyers to have benefitted from John’s mentoring and generous sharing of his expertise. Bruce paid tribute to John, saying: “John was a first class lawyer, a great ambassador for the firm and a lovely person.
“Clients regularly praised his energy and dedication and recognised the value he brought to matters by focusing on resolving issues in a constructive and collaborative manner.
“Having worked with John for almost two decades, I am grateful for the knowledge he has shared and the wise counsel that he has offered. His is such a sad loss to the corporate team and the wider firm. I am proud to have been a colleague and friend.”
John’s passing is a huge loss for all of us at Anderson Strathern and for all of those whose lives and work John touched. Our thoughts are with John’s wife Adrienne and his two sons, Struan and Moray.