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Lifetime achievement award for Highland lawyer

By Erin Miller

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Magnus Llewellin editor of The Times, Lifetime Achievement award winner Donald Macdonald and Des Clarke.
Magnus Llewellin editor of The Times, Lifetime Achievement award winner Donald Macdonald and Des Clarke.

A Highland born lawyer who rose through the ranks with one of the biggest banks in the world has received a lifetime achievement award.

Donald Macdonald (55), now Deputy General Counsel of NatWest Group started his career as a trainee with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

He received the lifetime achievement award at the recent Scottish Legal Awards, the occasion also marking his retirement.

Mr Macdonald lived in until he was six before his family moved to Lewis and later Inverness where he spent S3 to S6 at Millburn Academy before getting a place at Edinburgh University in 1985.

“My immediate plans are now to just relax and to clear my head because I have had a pretty busy 35 years working," he said after receiving his award.

"My wife is still working, she is a doctor, but we are doing a bit of travel around her clinic so, for example, we are going to India for about a week to tour around Delhi and the Taj Mahal.

“Beyond that, I am a trustee and director of Children’s Hospitals Across Scotland (CHAS), I have been quite involved with them for the past five years, and I will continue doing that and probably sort of look to do some more sort of third sector and volunteering work over the next few years.”

Mr Macdonald was a key part of the legal team which worked on corporate deals and joint ventures when Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Bank of Scotland were working on a joint bid to take over NatWest.

Only when it emerged that Bank of Scotland had made a solo bid did he become fully immersed in RBS’s attempts at takeover.

He was also involved in work to widen access, increase diversity and provide more opportunities for young people in the law.

His success in this can be seen through the introduction of a “First Step” initiative for legal trainees, offering the opportunity for school children across Scotland to take part in a week-long taster course giving them a chance to see what working in the legal profession looks like.

Lorna Jack, chairwoman of the Scottish Legal Awards judging panel, said: “Donald Macdonald is particularly admired for his work in social inclusion and creating access into the legal profession to many lawyers who may otherwise have found opportunities impossible.

“His plan for retirement made his nomination relevant and everyone involved in the Scottish Legal Awards congratulate him and wish him well for the next chapter.”

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