James specialises in governance, constitutional issues, mergers and collaborative working, advising on sensitive contractual and funding issues, and risk management. Much of this work is supporting senior staff and trustees through development, growth, mergers and collaborations.
He is identified by Chambers UK as a "leading individual" where he is described as "a massively effective lawyer" (2011) and "very knowledgeable and, as the firm's senior charities person, he clearly knows his stuff" (2012). He is also described by Chambers UK (2017) as "a guru on charity law".
James has a detailed understanding of the Charity Commission which allows a sophisticated approach to regulatory concerns.
- Merging United Response and Robert Owen Communities
- Advising UNICEF on governance and an international collaboration agreement
- Restructuring the governance of the International Youth Hostel Federation (Hostelling International) and of Consumer International
- Advice on charitable status to the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
- Helping Tudor Trust on a major social enterprise investment
- Complete revision of the royal charter of the Landscape Institute
- Advising an NHS mutual on a major collaboration with GPs
- Advising a local authority on the transfer of an historic community asset to a new charitable body
- Assisted the Cyclists Touring Club to achieve charitable registration
- Restructured the Ironmonger's Charitable Trust
- Advised the Medical Research Council Technology on its separation from the MRC
- Negotiated a £7 million funding agreement for the Postal Heritage Trust
- Clients note that "he is extremely supportive in terms of giving me the true legal position, but also he supports us in achieving our aims in negotiating with others", Chambers UK (2013)
- Noted for having "huge experience of the voluntary sector" and is described by clients as "personable and committed" and "an extremely bright lawyer", Chambers UK (2014)
- The Legal 500 (2011) describes him as "highly capable" and is recommended in The Legal 500 (2012, 2013 and 2014)
- Identified as a ‘leading lawyer’ in Citywealth Leaders List (2015 and 2017)
- London Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters' list (2015)
- Vice-Chair of ShelterBox, an international aid charity
- Chair of Reside Housing Association
- Chair of a grant making charity
- Vice-Chair of Swanage & Purbeck Development Trust
- Trustee of Islington Play Association
- Member of the Charity Law Association
- James has been a trustee of a range of charities including a housing association, a college of further education, a development trust, three grant makers, information providers and campaigning charities
- James has founded three charities and he was appointed Protector of the NESTA Trust, the successor to the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, by the Secretary of State
- James led a community law centre and then founded Sinclair Taylor & Martin, which merged with Russell-Cooke
- Author of the Russell-Cooke Legal Handbook 2010, the Directory of Social Change
- Author of he Company Handbook and Registers for Voluntary Organizations
James has a particular interest in social change charities and a keen interest in providing training for charities as demonstrated by his involvement with NCVO, The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, the Directory of Social Change and Charity Finance Directors' Group. He was a Visiting Fellow at London Southbank University.