Cate Edwards


Biography: Cate Edwards

Cate Edwards has represented hundreds of clients who have been victims of negligence by corporations, civil rights violations, sexual harassment and assault, and employment discrimination and retaliation. She brings a client-centered approach to every case, blending the client’s personal goals and circumstances with complex legal analysis and passionate advocacy. In her more than ten years practicing law, Cate has taken on some of the largest corporations in the United States and the world, in state and federal courts, on behalf of the regular people whom they have harmed.

Cate’s personal injury practice focuses on serious injuries and wrongful death caused by corporate negligence, truck and vehicle accidents, industrial accidents and unsafe property conditions. Cate’s practice is also devoted to representing individuals who have faced sexual harassment or assault, whistleblowers who have experienced retaliation or termination and employees who have suffered other serious forms of discrimination in the workplace. Cate’s civil rights practice spans important community issues, including police shootings and abuse, death and injury to prison inmates due to inadequate health care or abuse, and long-term imprisonment after wrongful conviction.

In law school, Cate Edwards practiced for two years as a student attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau on behalf of indigent clients throughout the Boston area. Cate also spent summers in law school working with National Public Radio’s Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg, and in the Washington, D.C. offices of Latham & Watkins and Jenner & Block.

Cate Edwards began her legal career as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema for the Eastern District of Virginia. Following her clerkship, she joined Sanford Heisler, a boutique civil rights law firm in Washington, D.C., where she worked on class action matters and represented clients who suffered discrimination in the workplace. Prior to joining Edwards Kirby, Cate served as a founding partner of Edwards and Eubanks, a law firm formed to fight for the rights and equality of regular, working people. There, Cate’s work focused largely on representing employees who experienced discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination, as well as victims of civil rights violations.

In 2011, Cate Edwards founded the Elizabeth Edwards Fellows Program, which provides mentoring and college opportunities for high school students who show great promise but lack resources. She serves as a Board Member of the Wade Edwards Foundation in Raleigh and as Class Agent to Princeton University Alumni Annual Giving Committee. Cate is married to Trevor Upham, and they have two sons. Outside of work, Cate loves enjoying as much time as she can get with her family.

Cate Edwards’ Education

  • Harvard Law School, J.D. (2009)
    • Harvard Legal Aid Bureau
    • Policy Editor of Harvard Law & Policy Review
  • Princeton University, A.B. in Politics (2004)
    • Graduated Cum Laude
    • Certificate in Political Economics

Notable Cases

  • Part of team of attorneys who obtained $99 million settlement for class of employees against pharmaceutical company for wage & hour violations
  • $1.2 million settlement for man shot and killed by a Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department Deputy
  • Confidential settlement for wrongful death due to nursing home neglect
  • $1.4 million wrongful death settlement for mother of three
  • Confidential settlements for sexual harassment on behalf of four employees of financial investment firm
  • Confidential settlements for group of hospitality employees subjected to sexual harassment by managers
  • $320,000 settlement on behalf of whistleblower for wrongful termination
  • $1.4 million settlement in wrongful death action
  • $300,000 settlement for employee who experienced race discrimination
  • Confidential settlement on behalf of doctor for pregnancy discrimination by her employing hospital
  • Confidential settlements on behalf of employee plaintiffs for misclassification under the FLSA and ADA discrimination
  • Won complaint against the federal government on behalf of a disabled veteran employee for discrimination and failure to accommodate, with full damages and attorneys’ fees awarded EEOC
  • $225,000 settlement in race discrimination case against the federal government
  • Obtained maximum available sheriff’s bond for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment case


  • Best Lawyers, Ones to Watch (2021)
    • Labor and Employment Law – Employee
    • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
    • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Super Lawyers, Rising Star (2020, 2021)
    • Personal Injury
    • Civil Rights
    • Employment & Labor Law
    • Class Action/Mass Torts
  • Triangle Business Journal, Women in Business Award Winner (2019)
  • National Trial Lawyers, Top 40 Under 40
  • Admitted to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Selected to the Lawyers of Distinction List
  • National Law Journal, DC Rising Star (2013)

Bar & Court Memberships

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern and Northern Districts of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Contact Cate today

Call (919) 335-7005 or fill out our online form to request a free consultation. You won’t pay unless we win!