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High-profile QC who's never far from the limelight.

GORDON Jackson has never actively courted publicity but, as a high-profile QC, he has regularly attracted it.

He and fellow QC Donald Findlay have become synonymous with headline-grabbing cases that stir the public imagination.

They challenge each other for the position of Scotland's top criminal lawyer and, because of their huge reputations as such, there's never a shortage of work.

However, the private lives of both men have been thrust into the public limelight for very different reasons.

Findlay was basically caught out on video singing sectarian songs and, as a result, resigned as vice-chairman of Rangers.

Jackson has exposed himself by being honest enough to admit he is the father of a lovechild and to take responsibility for him.

Perhaps that is not surprising given his strict religious upbringing.

He is the only child of working-class parents who were members of the Brethren, a fundamental, evangelical Protestant sect.

Jackson embraced the religion with enthusiasm and became a highly regarded lay preacher. After he gained his law degree and after working as a lawyer in Ayrshire for eight years he came to the bar in 1979 and quickly gained a reputation for his oratory skills.

By 1990, he had built up a healthy criminal practice and everything in the legal garden appeared rosy.

But in his mid-40s he had a crisis of faith and he quit the Brethren and separated from his wife and three children.

Jackson was then named in the divorce of lawyer Laura Walker.

If his private life was worrying him, it didn't seem to affect him in court. In 1997, he was the top legal-aid earner in the country, pocketing pounds 255,000 and the call from numerous prison cells was, "get me Jackson".

His career took a surprising turn last year when he entered politics and won the Govan MSP seat for Labour.

Despite the political workload, he has continued to fit in court cases.

That has sparked claims that he should do one job or the other.

When the Kvaerner shipyard crisis talks were going on, a shop steward quipped - "You are as likely to see Michael Jackson as Gordon Jackson around here."
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Author:Mcilwraith, Gordon
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 20, 2000
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