IT was February 1993 and lawyer James McIntyre was sitting in his Glasgow office enjoying a cup of tea.

At the time the 37-year-old ran one of the biggest criminal practices in the country in Bridgegate close to the High Court.

Such was the volume of business that he employed four secretaries to deal with all the paperwork, phone calls and visitors to his office.

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Suddenly that lunchtime and without warning three men burst in and confronted McIntyre.

One of them ran straight at the solicitor and began punching him in the face.

McIntyre had no idea what it was all about, but he immediately grabbed the intruder round the neck, and returned the punches.

The assailant suddenly pulled out a knife and before McIntyre could do anything the man jammed the point of the blade into his leg, just above the left knee, and pulled upwards, slicing his thigh in half.

As the lawyer turned to get away, the intruder swung the knife at him twice, slicing into his left shoulder blade and lower back, leaving long, deep cuts.

Seconds later, the three, including the knifeman, bolted out of the office.

McIntyre staggered to the door, just in time to see a car speed away with all three inside.

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He collapsed onto the pavement, blood pouring from his various wounds, forming a pool on the ground.

McIntyre’s wounded left leg lay wide open with the cut clean through to the bone.

A member of the office staff, Evelyn, who later became his wife, gave him some emergency first aid as he lay on the ground.

She held both halves of his thigh together as tightly as possible, trying to staunch the flow of blood which now covered her face and clothes.

A number of other people went to his aid including two passing police officers.

McIntyre was rushed by ambulance to the nearby Glasgow Royal Infirmary, sirens blaring.

There the nurses clamped the gaping wounds and covered him from top to toe in iodine, to prevent infection.

Doctors then took him into theatre and operated to repair the wounds and stem the bleeding.

The thigh was quickly stapled together.

However during the surgery, and while under anaesthetic, McIntyre took an allergic reaction to the metal in his breathing tube.

His face and throat swelled up and he almost died on the operating table, with surgeons forced to get his heart beating again.

After a few days the injured lawyer decided it was time to make a move, sign himself out and return to his home in Linlithgow, West Lothian.

Police spoke to McIntyre several times after the attack but he would not disclose the name of the man who stabbed him, thought to be a rival of one of his clients. Even to this day McIntyre won’t say who was responsible.

However, he believes the other two men were not aware that the attack was about to take place and were just as surprised.

McIntyre explained: “I was aware of who the person was that stabbed me.

“I don’t believe in informing on people when you are involved in that world and that life.

“It would be hypocritical otherwise.”

Four years later in November 1997 McIntyre’s legal career was over when he received a three-year prison sentence at the High Court in Glasgow, after police found two guns and ammunition at his home.

The lawyer had claimed they were being held for a client Michael Lavin, now dead, who wanted them given to a police gun amnesty. But the jury didn’t believe him.

McIntyre was set free after serving 18 months and married Evelyn the same day.

Shortly before his release McIntyre was called before a hearing of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal, brought by his membership body the Law Society of Scotland, and struck off.

Now the 66-year-old grandfather has decided to ‘spill the beans’ in his book Jimmy Two Guns: The Life and Crimes of a Gangland Lawyer.

In it he admits he was a lawyer, confidant and friend to some of Scotland’s most notorious underworld figures.

The book describes him as a real-life Tom Hagen, the fictional adviser to the Corleone mafia family in The Godfather movies.

It also details his relationship with the notorious McGovern family – six brothers known as the McGovernment because of the control that they allegedly exerted over the Springburn area of Glasgow where they operated.

McIntyre was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa, where his father was chief medical officer, before moving to Scotland in 1962.

He graduated with a law degree from Dundee University in 1980.

At this point his fledgling career almost came to a shuddering halt – before it had even started.

While a third year student he had been convicted of breaking into an antiques shop in Dundee and stealing a fireplace surround.

At the time he claimed the store was selling Nazi memorabilia and the theft was a protest against the owner.

However, his application to become a lawyer was refused by the Law Society of Scotland who said he was not ‘a fit and proper person’.

McIntyre took his case to the Court of Session in Edinburgh – the country’s highest court – where it overturned the decision.

In 1988 he was accused of the attempted murder of a member of an undercover police drugs squad who had been following him from a client’s house in Edinburgh.

It was claimed that McIntyre knocked down the Detective Inspector in the city’s Maxwell Street and then drove off.

He was also accused of having swallowed a package of drugs.

McIntyre was kept under 24-hour watch by police and prison staff for 10 days to check any bowel movements for sign of the offending drugs. When nothing suspicious appeared he was freed.

Eighteen months later he admitted a reduced charge of dangerous driving after the attempted murder charge was dropped and fined £400.

In 1995 McIntyre represented one of the McGovern brothers, Thomas, then 28, who was accused of shooting dead a man outside the Ashfield Bar in Springburn.

However, he walked free from the High Court when a key witness said he was not the man she saw do the shooting.

McIntyre also represented the youngest brother Paul McGovern, then 16, who was convicted in 1990 of murdering a school janitor in Springburn and sentenced to life.

A third, Tony McGovern, was shot dead outside the New Morven bar in Balornock in 2000 and McIntyre attended his funeral.

Eldest brother Joe McGovern died several years ago and McIntyre admits they were close friends McGovern was best man when he married his wife Evelyn, now 61, and is godfather to his three children.

McIntyre has also represented former underworld enforcer turned author Paul Ferris, who has penned the book’s foreword.

Ferris describes McIntyre in the following terms: “Razor sharp, with an analytical brain, what mattered way more was that he was one of us.

“To ask if James sometimes crossed the line would be to assume he was aware there was a line to cross, or that he cared.”

After his release from prison he used his real-life experiences of the underworld to become a successful writer for TV shows like River City, Eastenders, New City Law and Taggart.

He has also written more than 80 episodes of River City, including scripts for Frank Gallagher who plays gangster Lenny Murdoch.

Despite his life as a gangland lawyer and spells behind bars, McIntyre is a practising Christian who goes to mass once a week with his five grandchildren.

However, the knife attack still affects him to this day.

It badly damaged the nerves in his left leg and now he needs to use a walking stick to get about.

McIntyre has no regrets about his life and believes he was harshly treated by the legal authorities.

He says they should have allowed him to continue working as a solicitor despite the jail term.

McIntyre told the Glasgow Times: “There was no dishonesty involved and no evidence that the guns were linked to organised crime as claimed.

“I believed the authorities wanted me out of the way because I was winning so many cases in court.

“Though I represented a lot of heavy guys over the years, I also believed in defending the underdog.

“I am enjoying my new life as a writer and I’m looking forward to the future rather than dwelling on the past.”