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.
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)
A source describes her as “a standout litigator who is very good with people, extremely capable and really knows her stuff.” (Chambers 2020 – Partnership)
“Catriona Watt assists clients with a wide range of contentious matters, with particular expertise in partner exits and team moves. She has notable experience in matters concerning partnerships and LLPs in the financial services sector. Clients praise her as a “very experienced lawyer who is able to provide deep insight into matters.” (Chambers 2019 – Partnership)
“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)
“Catriona Watt is very proactive and clear in her advice. She does not shy away from steering a client in the right direction – even if that means a difficult conversation.” (Legal 500 2020 – Partnership)
“The practice is co-led by Catriona Watt and Caroline Field, both of whom were promoted to partner in July 2017. Watt, who possesses ‘superb judgement‘ and gives ‘extremely commercial advice‘, specialises in departures and arrivals, partner rights and entitlements and negotiating terms of exit” (Legal 500 2019 – Partnership)
Fox & Partners ‘provides a fantastic service, has extremely good industry knowledge and is always available” with ‘excellent client focus and personal attention‘. Key names include…. Catriona Watt, who is ‘utterly thorough in her approach and offers a perspective that is highly reassuring‘. (Legal 500 2019 – Employment)
“Catriona Watt receives high praise from interviewees, one of whom names her “a very impressive, jaw-droppingly able senior associate”. She is noted for her handling of particularly sensitive partnership exit issues.” (Chambers 2017 – Associate to Watch” for Contentious Partnership)
“Catriona Watt is “an excellent employment litigator” who advises both employers and employees. She is best known for her work with senior individuals, with impressed clients praising her availability and overall client service.” (Chambers 2015 – Recommended as an “Associate to Watch” for Employment (Senior Executive))
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.”