Leading regional NSW based law firm, Catherine Henry Lawyers, is in the running for two prestigious Australian Law Awards.
The firm is one of eight finalists for Regional Law Firm of the Year and its principal, Catherine Henry, is one of 10 finalists for Regional Lawyer of the Year.
Ms Henry has pioneered bringing health, aged care law and elder law services, usually only available from capital city law firms, to regional NSW since returning to work in Newcastle more than a decade ago.
She is humbled by the nominations and proud of her team.
“Congratulations to the awards’ organisers for having categories for regional Australia,” Ms Henry said.
“It is really important that people who have experienced poor health care and aged care in regional areas have access to the highest quality representation,” she said.
“These nominations encourage my team and I to continue our work in giving people robust representation and help them obtain justice, redress, and compensation.”
“Litigation is also a way to hit poor operators and providers where it hurts – in their hip pockets – and thereby forcing positive change in healthcare standards.”
Ms Henry said her firm, which offers health law, elder law, family law, wills and estate planning and property conveyancing services, had achieved much over the past 12 months. She said her team’s hard work is paying off with the firm seeing a doubling of incoming work.
“We are representing more than 80 women who have received poor medical care from disgraced doctors – representing them individually rather than via a class action.”
“We have maintained our 100 per cent success rate in medical litigation cases.”
She is continuing to expand and diversify health law, aged care law and elder law services. In addition to gaining justice for victims of poor care, the firm has developed a health disciplinary practice representing health professionals whose conduct has been questioned – and, in some cases, prosecuted – by health regulatory bodies. The firm is also doing work in challenging health decisions, preparing contracts for assisted reproduction, as well as health transactional work which give rise to both health and consumer law remedies.
Expanded aged care and elder law services being offered by the firm include aged care advocacy (accommodation disputes and challenging and negotiating aged care contracts) and financial elder abuse.
More lawyers with clinical experience have joined the team including a senior lawyer midwife. Ms Henry said the team is also supported by an in-house nurse who helps to carefully and quickly assess cases and to ask the right questions to help establish liability.
Ms Henry said some clients have been rejected by capital city law firms but Catherine Henry Lawyers has successfully taken them on.
“Not many firms take on the confronting task of representing the frail aged, particularly in regional areas,” she said.
On another positive note, Catherine Henry Lawyers has continued to serve clients in a safe manner during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Unlike many other firms, we have neither cut jobs nor staff hours.”
“We also try to play our part in improving the law profession and giving back to the communities in which we operate.”
These award nominations are not the only accolade for Catherine Henry and her team. She and the firm have been recognised in the prestigious Doyle’s Guide lists of NSWs’ top medical negligence and malpractice compensation lawyers and law firms. Ms Henry, who has been recognised three years running, is one of only two lawyers in the list that are based outside of Sydney. The Newcastle Business Club also bestowed Ms Henry with its 2019 Individual Award for her contribution to the commonweal of Newcastle and the Hunter.
The Australian Law Awards is in its 20th year. Lawyers Weekly editor Emma Ryan said the awards showcase professional development and innovation, celebrating both the individuals and firms that are leading the way in the industry.
“This annual event represents the premier benchmark for those operating in the business of law, covering vast practice areas, level of experience and contribution to the profession,” Ms Ryan said.
The winners will be announced via an online event on August 7.