I am a solicitor specialising in claims for people who have had all manner of serious injuries, especially brain and spinal cord injuries. I love getting to know my clients and their families who have had a terrible accident befall them; it is very satisfying to apply my experience over the last 20 years to help them in their rehabilitation and in getting compensation so that they can have all the support, care and opportunities they need in the future.
I am passionate about ensuring settlements for my clients are tailored individually to their needs and interests. It is about setting the client up to have the best possible future.
I am prepared to fight cases to the highest court in the land if necessary to see justice is done, and as a result of one case I took to the Supreme Court the law was changed.
I will leave no stone unturned in getting the best evidence to get the best result for my clients. Whether this relates to how the accident happened, in which case I will trace as many witnesses as possible to try and present the evidence; or whether it relates to how much compensation a client needs.
I was instructed by a professional footballer signed to a Premier League Club who was badly injured and could no longer play football. I was able to obtain witness evidence from over 40 key witnesses to talk about his potential as a footballer and how his career and earnings may have progressed had he not been injured. This resulted in an award of compensation for loss of earnings which was believed to be higher than any previous footballer cases.
I will fight any battle to get the best outcome for my clients – my job satisfaction comes from the relationships I have with the clients and their families and getting a result which will improve their lives which have been devastated by an accident.
"She deals with catastrophic injury and is simply one of the best in the country for spinal cord and brain injury claims - just a class act through and through." – Chambers & Partners, 2020
"Her personable nature makes the litigation process far less daunting, as she supports her clients through it. She is incredibly passionate about helping clients and is dedicated to their causes," - Chambers & Partners, 2019
A source says: "She combines a sensitive and straightforward approach to clients with a determination to secure the best results in even the most difficult cases. There is no other solicitor to whom I would rather turn if I were the victim of a catastrophic injury." - Chambers & Partners, 2018
"Top of the tree" and "one of the best personal injury lawyers in Manchester." "She puts clients at ease and takes the pressure away from them as much as she can." - Chambers & Partners, 2017
"One of the most knowledgeable spinal injury lawyers in the UK" - Legal 500, 2017
What Inspired You To Get Into Law?
I was given two bits of advice at university.
1. A computer-generated questionnaire suggested several careers for me: Army, Navy, RAF, Police, Prison Service (I think I may have over-emphasised my love of team work being a very keen rower at the time!).
2. The careers adviser suggested if I liked “People, paper, words” I might think of being a solicitor. That sounded more my kind of thing and had the added benefit of making my mum proud too.
The careers advisor was right. I love my job and it is all about people, paper and words.
What Is The Most Rewarding Aspect Of Your Role?
I enjoy the relationships with clients and their families and keep in touch with many of them long term, their experience helps me with advising newly-injured people too. To watch people who have been through a really traumatic experience emerge from their rehabilitation and build in confidence for the future and help to support them through that is a privilege.
I also value enormously working with charities which support injured people; particularly the Spinal Injuries Association with whom I helped develop initiatives to support Spinal Cord Injured people, like the Peer Support Service and Health Care Professional study days as well as doing a lot of fundraising for them. They must be a worthy charity if they can make me run marathons and ride a bike for miles!
What Do You Like About Working At Irwin Mitchell?
I am proud to work for the national firm which I consider has the most dedicated and able team of lawyers acting on behalf of seriously injured people. The team at IM are top quality and share the belief, that I also hold, that the client is at the centre of all that we do and deserves the best and most comprehensive legal service. The breadth of expertise at IM which includes providing rehabilitation, disability rights advice and Court of Protection support means we can give our clients a seamless service.
What Do You Do Away From The Office?
I am a wife and mother of three children. I am a former rower and do a bit of junior coaching these days but mainly enjoy running and riding my bike. I will always look for an excuse to leave domestic chores behind and get out on my bike in the fresh air. There is no truth in the rumour that I love my bikes more than my family. Absolutely not – but bikes are a close second! Combining riding my bike and fundraising for SIA is the perfect combination of leisure activities for me. I have helped raise over £600,000 for SIA over the past 18 years.
- 2019 Winner: Catastrophic Injury Lawyer of the Year at the Personal Injury Awards
- 2017 Winner: Spinal Injury Association Fundraiser of the Year
- 2013 Winner: Solicitor of the Year in Private Practice – National Law Society Excellence Awards
Judges quote: “Catherine Leech has outstanding legal ability, tenacity and empathy, championing the rights of victims of severe injury and attaining landmark personal injury rulings securing positive and equitable results for claimants.”
- 2013 Winner: Spinal Injury Association Award for Excellence in Legal Care
Cathy was nominated for “outstanding work in the legal field and also improving the quality of care for spinal injured patients including implementing study days for staff in District General Hospitals nationwide to receive training from spinal injury specialists.”
Profile of Catherine Leech - Law Society Gazette 10/2/2014
Who’s to blame? [Woodland v Essex] - New Law Journal 6/12/2013
Flight Fight - New Law Journal 14/3/14
Making the solicitor-expert witness role work - Solicitors Journal Summer 2014 supplement