Catriona Watt specialises in contentious partnership, employment and discrimination law. Catriona advises employers, professional partnerships and LLPs, senior executives and partners across a variety of sectors.
Her experience includes advising both institutions and individuals on sensitive and confidential senior level appointments and departures. Catriona often advises on complex team move situations in which there are usually restrictive covenant, fiduciary duties and potential forfeiture aspects as well as contentious exits from partnership structures particularly in professional services, financial services and private equity. She regularly drafts, and advises both employers and individual executives and partners on the terms of service agreements, staff policies and procedures, settlement agreements, LLP agreements, and retirement deeds. Catriona has particular experience in dealing with individuals leaving and joining hedge fund and private equity structures, frequently with a complex bonus and incentive element.
Catriona works with clients to avoid litigation but where that is not possible, Catriona draws on her experience of involvement in Employment Tribunal and High Court litigation including high-value discrimination, whistleblowing claims and breach of contract claims. She gives clear and pragmatic advice tailored to the client’s objectives in situations which are usually time-critical, high-profile and often with a regulatory aspect. Where there is a market-sensitive or public interest angle, Catriona works with PR advisers.
Appointments, Associations and Memberships
Catriona is a member of the Employment Law Association, Association of Partnership Practitioners and is a past Co-Chair of the Young Lawyers’ Committee of the International Bar Association (IBA). Catriona regularly attends IBA conferences and events and often writes for industry press.
“I would like to thank you both for your calm and assured counsel throughout, to the extent that what promised to be pretty gruesome, turned out to be manageable and at times even enjoyable, really! I would not hesitate to recommend you to others.”
“I wanted to pass on my personal thanks to you both [Catriona and Ronnie] for your advice and counsel over the last few weeks. It has been invaluable.”
“My experience of working with you has been very positive in what were often fraught circumstances. Thanks again.”
“Catriona Watt is definitely the person to go to if you are a professional or a professional firm dealing with a difficult exit.” (Legal 500 2023 – Partnership)
“Catriona Watt routinely handles some of the most high value senior executive exits in the country. She combines very experienced intuition with rock solid judgment to negotiate the very best positions for her clients.” (Legal 500 2023 – Senior Executive)
“Catriona is very much on the ball. She was very good at dealing with difficult clients, opponents, and keeping everything focused on what was best for clients irrespective of demands being made by them.” (Chambers 2023 – Employment)
“Catriona exhibits a balance of legal expertise, clear understanding of the business objectives and an ability to connect with her clients.” “Catriona is excellent, really superb with clients and always authoritative.” “She keeps everything focused on what is best for the client, is very incisive, and knows the law inside out and how to apply it.” (Chambers 2023 – Partnership)
“She’s good at developing strategy for litigation and is creative about identifying legal avenues we can use in addition to being very thorough with her preparation.” “Catriona is endlessly patient with clients and really takes her time to find out what they need or want to achieve in litigation, as well as being intelligent and creative in getting them to the position they need to be in.” (Chambers 2022 – Partnership)
“She is very calm, sees the bigger picture and takes strategic oversight of the matter.” “She is dedicated, insightful and cost-effective.” “She is on the ball, diligent, a good team leader and a good communicator.” (Chambers 2022 – Employment)
“Caroline Field and Catriona Watt are both outstanding. They have built an exceptional practice and an exceptional relationship in the marketplace. Both are razor sharp, strategically gifted, and a true pleasure to work with.” (Legal 500 2022 – Partnership)
“Catriona Watt and Eleanor Diamond were helpful, calm and reassuring in a difficult and stressful situation.” (Legal 500 2022 – Partnership)
“Catriona Watt is superb. When we worked together on the case she showed that she was a very strong and capable lawyer with a full and impressive knowledge of the legal issues and an ability not only to understand them but also to apply the law in an effective way to secure a satisfactory outcome. So impressive.” (Legal 500 2022 – Partnership)
“Catriona Watt is highly impressive in an understated way and has the ability to condense large quantities of wisdom into a few words. She is particularly good at dealing with demanding clients.” (Legal 500 2022 – Partnership)
“Catriona Watt is outstanding. Understands people and situations perfectly. Escalates negotiations skilfully one notch of the ratchet at a time, mindful of where other side is.” (Legal 500 2022 – Senior Executive)
“Catriona Watt – extremely experienced and savvy adviser. Trusted by very senior clients to steer a steady course across tricky legal landscapes and rapidly evolving situations. Shiv Raja – technically gifted associate who is exceptionally good at drafting.” (Legal 500 2022 – Senior Executive)
Catriona Watt wins praise from sources as a “very dynamic, client-focused and astute” solicitor who is “sensible, pragmatic and focused on the objectives and outcome of a case.” She handles a broad range of highly sensitive and contentious partnership matters, including compulsory retirements, partner exits and sexual harassment allegations. (Chambers 2021 – Partnership)
Catriona Watt is noted for her astute advice to senior executives. She regularly advises clients on cases involving discrimination, whistle-blowing and restrictive covenants. “She has very good strategic acumen – she is responsive and manages the team very effectively to get results, sometimes in a very fast-moving situation.“ “She is a superb lawyer.” (Chambers 2021 – Senior Executive)
Caroline Field and Catriona Watt are both great – efficient, super with clients and a delight to work with. Both are partners who really take the lead and go the extra mile for clients.” (Legal 500 2021 – Partnership)
“Catriona Watt has exceptional judgment and client skills.” (Legal 500 2021 – Senior Executive)