Views on training
My training style is informal, energetic and interactive. I come from a long line of teachers and love watching participants working together. Most people learn by doing, and a lively session with plenty of exercises helps reinforce the learning. The words most often used to describe my training style are “engaging”, “enthusiastic” and “passionate”.
Views on writing
I really care about good writing and drafting and try to spread my love of the subject to others. For me, good style combines scrupulously correct grammar and punctuation with straightforward language, appropriate to the audience. Busy readers shouldn’t have to work hard to understand business writing or legal drafting – it should be clear on first reading. I trained all of my former firm’s lawyers worldwide (and many of its secretaries and business services staff) in plain language business writing.
I read Modern and Medieval Languages and Law at Christ’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1985. I speak fluent French and German and small amounts of Spanish, Italian, Mandarin and Russian. I qualified as a solicitor in 1988 and as a mediator with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution in 1998.
After graduating, I worked for 26 years in a large international law firm, SNR Denton (and its predecessor firms). Specialising in resolving large international commercial disputes in court and through arbitration, I became a litigation partner in 1996. From 2000, as the firm’s director of legal training, I was responsible for developing the writing and drafting skills of the firm’s legal and business services staff worldwide. In 2012 I set up my own company to deliver compelling and exciting training to lawyers and other professionals around the world. I live in a small village in the Chiltern Hills, surrounded by sheep, pigs and cows, but am happy to travel anywhere to deliver training.
What do others think?
“Cathy is a very dedicated, creative trainer and clearly an excellent lawyer. Her training was innovative, relevant, practical and clear. Cathy lives for what she does and her passion for her work means she was always on hand to help lawyers on a one-to-one basis, delivering solutions to our problems. My exposure to Cathy’s training has made me a better lawyer and I thank her for it.” (Paulina Spencer, Solicitor)
“Cathy’s interactive training sessions on boilerplate provisions and plain language drafting are fresh, informative and engaging, resulting in very effective sessions; participants responded with enthusiasm and gave plenty of positive feedback. Please note that as Shell does not give recommendations, I am making the above remarks in my personal capacity.” (Ruth Crawford, former Training and Know-how Counsel, Shell International Ltd)
“Cathy is a fantastic communicator and legal trainer. Her sessions on plain language, drafting and grammar were practical, relevant and creative. She knows exactly how to reach a balance where training is both fun and very useful. In addition, she always had great feedback from firm clients who attended the training days she organised for in-house lawyers.” (Reference given in her personal capacity by Juliet Tainui, Director of Compliance, Addleshaw Goddard)
“Cathy is a great communicator, trainer and organiser. She delivers a great legal development programme. Her own workshops and seminars, whether on substantive law, process or plain English, win maximum audience attention and participation.” (Robert Finney, partner, Holman Fenwick and Willan)
“Cathy’s training sessions are always interesting, engaging and interactive. No question is too basic or too complex and she is great at making her subject relevant and accessible to a room full of lawyers of varying experience levels. I found her legal drafting course and plain language training invaluable in developing my skills as a junior lawyer. I also noticed an increase in awareness and standards among colleagues in these areas following the introduction at my firm of formal courses that Cathy devised and delivered.” (Helen Dayananda, associate, SNR Denton)