Meet the MD: Catherine Thomas of Vardags

Meet the MD: Catherine Thomas of Vardags

Catherine Thomas is the managing director of law firm Vardags, where she represents high profile cases in the family courts, as well as running the business day-to-day. She caught up with BQ to tell us more...

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

I am the managing director of the law firm, Vardags.  I represent clients in some of the most high value divorces in the family courts as well as managing the firm. 

What is it the company does?

We were established by Ayesha Vardag as a family law firm ten years ago and recently we have begun expanding into other areas to support wealthy individuals.  

We are the fastest growing law firm in the country having been the only one included this year in the Virgin Fast Track list of the country's fastest growing companies. 

We currently have offices in London, Manchester, Cambridge and Winchester. 

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

To finance my way through university I worked as a paralegal in a high street law firm during the holidays. It was a hugely busy practice and I was lucky enough to be given lots of responsibility early on, dealing directly with clients or going to court every day. 

After my studies I started a training contract at a Lincoln's Inn firm where I began specialising in family law. I worked my way up through the ranks to partner, which was what I was doing when I met Ayesha Vardag for a drink.

We got on incredibly well straight away and her vision for her firm and how family law needed to change was intoxicating. She described exactly the sort of firm and ethos I wanted to be a part of. By the end of the evening she had offered me a job and I had accepted. That was by some way the best decision I have made. 

What do you believe makes a great leader?

Someone who inspires you to strive for greater things, to improve yourself and not accept the status quo. And being direct and consistent - everyone works better if they know their boss is straight with them. 


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

The biggest challenge to our on-going expansion is to maintain the standards exemplified by our current team who - lawyers and business professionals alike - are fiercely intelligent, driven and downright lovely people. I don't ever want to compromise on that to fill vacancies. 

As part of our longer term strategy we have a developed a unique graduate recruitment scheme which enables us to take the best young talent straight out of university. 

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

By taking advantage of the quieter times when they come. I used to pile more work onto myself as soon as I had a spare minute but I've learnt to allow myself to have a break. 

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A lawyer. Since I was 10. Not very imaginative I realise!

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?

Paper. Unusually for a lawyer I want as little paperwork as possible. I work electronically and everyone has become used to me stomping round the office demanding a clear out of their paperwork. 

Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

We have lots more growth planned: growing the London family team further, opening more offices across the country filled with the best people, moving into new business areas (we are already practicing family, civil litigation, employment, wills and trusts). Most importantly to keep winning cases for our clients. 

That's the plan for the next 12 months and more of the same for the next 5 years I expect. 

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Support your team and they will support you. Nobody is an island.