William Robert McAllen (‘Mac’) Spence
15 May 1936 – 29 January 2015 It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our dear friend and colleague, Mac Spence. Mac was a highly respected member of the legal profession, and a pre-eminent authority on African IP law and practice for several decades. Mac spent much of his life in Kenya, having arrived there in 1939 at the age of three.
From 1948 to 1953 he was educated at the Prince of Wales School in Nairobi, and then, after a brief period working for a law firm in Mombasa, he was called up for compulsory emergency service in the Kenya Regiment. He was on active (operational) duty from 1954 to 1956, and remained in the Territorial Reserve until Kenyan independence in 1963. From 1956 to 1959 Mac worked in the Registrar General’s office, before being asked to join the leading local law firm of Hamilton Harrison & Mathews. He stayed with the firm for 25 years, becoming a partner and an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya.
Mac and his family moved to England in 1984, but they maintained close links with Kenya and visited often. For four years, Mac managed a small solicitor’s office in Lechlade on Thames, before accepting an offer to join Spoor & Fisher Jersey in 1988. He retired from the partnership in 2004, but remained very much involved in the firm as a consultant. With a meticulous eye for detail, and a complex understanding of the context and evolution of IP law, he specialised in legal research and drafting, and was a contributor to a number of prestigious international journals and reference works.
An affable and unassuming man, Mac combined wise counsel with kindness, sharp observation and wit. He was immensely popular, and will be much missed by everyone at Spoor & Fisher. It was a privilege to have known him.
Mac was happy in Jersey, but Kenya remained his spiritual home, and it is entirely fitting that he was on one of his many visits to the country when he passed away.
Date published: 2015/02/03