‘An amazing colleague and friend’ — Kennedys mourns loss of international arbitration co-head

Tributes paid to ‘brave and optimistic’ Katherine Proctor who has died aged 41 following a long illness
Photograph of Katherine Proctor

Katherine Proctor

Kennedys has paid tribute this week to Katherine Proctor, the co-head of its international arbitration practice, who died in July, aged 41, following a long illness.

Proctor joined the firm as a partner in 2018 from Clyde & Co and specialised in international arbitration, principally in insurance, reinsurance, and general commercial disputes, working across all aspects of the London market.

The firm said Proctor was ‘a truly outstanding lawyer and a very dear friend’ adding: ‘Kat's commitment to her career was unparalleled. She was a tenacious litigator who brought energy, passion, insight and bundles of intelligence to her role. Most importantly, she was part of the Kennedys family. She was warm, fun, courageous and an inspiration. We are grateful for the years that Kat spent with us, and we are heartbroken to have lost such an amazing colleague and friend.’

Nick Thomas, the firm's longstanding senior partner, added: “I am still struggling to accept that we will never see her again. She had so much more to give and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”

Proctor worked first at legacy Ince & Co, where she qualified in 2005, rising rapidly to become a senior associate. Claire Boddy, a shipping lawyer at MSC Cruise Management, was a fellow trainee at Ince. She wrote on LinkedIn: 'As trainees, we had such fun together! I don't know anyone else who could seamlessly drop a 'wey aye' into a client meeting, which would diffuse any difficult situation.'

Proctor was highly regarded for her commercial approach, forged over four separate secondments in the London market while at Ince. She left in 2014 to join Clyde & Co as a legal director, working in that firm's international arbitration group, led by Ben Knowles. 

She rapidly made her mark in significant LCIA arbitrations and associated High Court commercial actions, working with counsel from leading insurance sets, who respected her acumen.

Jill Kennedy, Clyde & Co's head of learning & development, wrote on LinkedIn: ‘I had the pleasure of steering Kat through her senior leadership programme, and she worked so hard on it, always laughing, always upbeat, always noticeable.’

Important as her arbitration practice was, her personality moved people the most. Kennedys said Proctor would be remembered ‘not just for her professional excellence but for her infectious personality – fun, fearless and a proud Geordie lass whose smile lit up the room.’

Clyde & Co consultant and former colleague John Turnbull wrote that Proctor was ‘one of the bravest and most optimistic people I have ever met. She was always smiling, despite what she was going through in recent times. Fiercely independent but always cherishing her friends and family.’

Outside her work, she supported the BEE programme, which provides financial literacy workshops for 9-11-year-olds and was a mentor for The Big Alliance, which allows secondary school and sixth form students to meet business professionals to mentor them on core employability competencies.

Suzanne Liversidge, Kennedys' global managing partner, said: “Kat was a tremendous force of nature in every way. She was a truly outstanding lawyer whose commitment to Kennedys was delivered with unparalleled tenacity and passion.”

Proctor is survived by her mother and father, Margaret and Tom, twin sister Helen, and her niece and nephews. Donations in her memory can be made to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

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