After graduating from Trinity College with a Bachelor's degree in English and from Yale University with a Master of Arts in Teaching, she spent 6 years as a high school English teacher before entering Northeastern University School of Law.
Subsequent to receiving her J.D., Catherine worked as an associate for Burns & Levinson before being called to state service as Assistant Legal Counsel to Governor Michael S. Dukakis and later as an Assistant Attorney General under Francis X. Bellotti in the Government Bureau. She returned to Burns & Levinson in 1980 and became a partner 2 years later.
In recognition of her commitment to legal excellence she was appointed and confirmed as an Associate Justice of the Superior Court in 1987, where she served until 2006, earning the respect of her fellow judges as well as the legal community.
As a Superior Court Judge, she served on the Court's Judicial Education Committee, the Civil Committee, the ADR Subcommittee, as well as the SJC Advisory Committee for the Judicial Institute and the Standing Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution. In addition, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Northeastern University 1990. and Catherine served as trustee until 2010.