Cate Edwards Photo

Cate Edwards

  • Profile
  • Practice Areas

Cate Edwards represents individuals and groups who have been victims of civil rights violations and negligence by corporations. Her civil rights cases span a wide range of issues, including the provision of inadequate medical care to prison inmates, police abuse and misconduct, and imprisonment after wrongful conviction.

She also works on a variety of cases involving workers’ rights, such as whistleblower actions for fraud against the government and suits for discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. Additionally, Cate represents plaintiffs in cases for negligence, including wrongful death and toxic torts. In 2013, she was named a “D.C. Rising Star” by the National Law Journal in recognition of her legal work.


Cate graduated cum laude from Princeton University where she majored in politics, with a degree in political economy. She received her Juris Doctor in 2009 from Harvard Law School.

Work Experience

Cate began her legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Leonie M. Brinkema in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, 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 civil rights and civil liberties. 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.

The Elizabeth Edwards Foundation

In 2011, Cate launched the Elizabeth Edwards Foundation. The nonprofit foundation honors the memory of Cate’s mother by providing opportunities to students with limited resources and support. She is currently President of the Elizabeth Edwards Foundation and Board Member of the Wade Edwards Foundation. Cate is married to Trevor Upham, and they have two sons.

Bar Memberships

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia

Notable Cases

  • Representing plaintiffs in Cooper v. Tepco, a class action case brought by U.S. Sailors against Tepco and GE for radiation exposure and related illnesses caused by the disaster at Fukushima nuclear power plant.
  • Confidential settlement for wrongful death due to nursing home neglect
  • Confidential settlement on behalf of doctor for pregnancy discrimination by her employer
  • Confidential settlement against government contractor for failure to pay overtime wages to employee working in Iraq.
  • Confidential settlement on behalf of employee plaintiff 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 being calculated by the 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.


  • 2021 Best Lawyers’ “Ones to Watch” for Labor and Employment Law – Employee, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs, and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40
  • Selected to the 2019 Lawyers of Distinction List
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Star 2020
  • Named 2014 DC Rising Star by National Law Journal

We're Here to Help

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

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.