Findlater, Sir William (1824–1906), solicitor and MP, was born 1 January 1824, the only son of William Findlater, of Londonderry, and his wife Sophia (née Huffington) of Fahan, Co. Donegal. His father, who had been born in Scotland, died in 1831. With his three sisters, he spent much of his childhood in Dublin with other members of the Findlater family. No details of his education are known. Admitted a solicitor in 1846, he practised initially in various firms and then established his own, William Findlater & Co, the practice continuing under that name for about fifty years after his death. He was president of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland on two separate occasions (1877/8, 1896/7) and was knighted in the New Year's honours list in 1897. In 1877 he established and endowed scholarships for trainee solicitors in the Society, which have ever since been regarded as among its principal student prizes.
Findlater played a prominent part in Dublin business life, being a director of the Dublin Artisans’ Dwellings Company, and was for a time the proprietor of the family Mountjoy Brewery, which had been established in 1852 and which he sold in 1890. He also contributed to civic and public organisations as a member of the council of the RDS, of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, and of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland (of which he was president, 1891–2). He was a freemason.
In the general election of 1880 Findlater was elected Liberal MP for Co. Monaghan, having been nominated after the Liberal leaders in the constituency had thought better of an earlier invitation to Charles Russell (qv) (later Lord Russell of Killowen) to stand, thinking that a presbyterian candidate such as Findlater would command more support than a catholic such as Russell. He enthusiastically supported the land act of 1881, which gave the ‘three Fs’ – fair rent, fixity of tenure, and free sale – to tenant farmers. He was one of the promoters of the County Court Amendment (Ireland) Act, 1882, known for a time as Findlater's act, which facilitated appeals from county court judges to the judges of assize. In the 1885 general election he did not contest Monaghan, considering that his constituents had ‘got ahead of his views’ (as indicated by the success of Tim Healy (qv) as a home rule candidate at a by-election in 1883), and stood unsuccessfully in the constituency of Londonderry South. He lived at 22 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, and Fernside, Killiney, Co. Dublin, where he died 16 April 1906.
He married first (1853) Mary Jane (d. 1877), daughter of John Wolfe, a solicitor with whom he was in partnership. They had no children. In 1878 he married Marion Hodges (d. 1916; daughter of Lt.-col. Archibald Park, son of Mungo Park, the celebrated explorer), who had three children by her first marriage. She and Findlater had two sons and a daughter.