James is a senior lawyer in our growing corporate and commercial team.

He has over eleven years’ experience dealing with corporate and commercial matters working with clients across multiple sectors including healthcare, banking and finance and private wealth. City trained, James has an extensive network of contacts and referrers and a loyal client base, ranging from investors, companies, LLPs and partnerships. James has an extensive knowledge of data protection laws and advises clients on a wide range of data protection-related matters. James also works alongside the firm’s dispute resolution team on transactional matters with an insolvency element (such as pre-packaged administration sales).

James was shortlisted as a finalist at the 2017 Turnaround, Restructuring and Insolvency (TRI) Awards in the Corporate Restructuring Lawyer of the Year category and has since 2017 been included in the TRI 250 index of influence and best practice.



James works with clients on their acquisitions, disposals, investment/shareholders’ agreements, share schemes, bespoke articles of association (with different classes of shares, drag & tag, good & bad leaver provisions, growth shares), other constitutional documents (such as partnership and LLP agreements), company administration and share buy-backs. His excellent technical ability, personable approach and his tenacity mean that his services are regularly in demand.


James has wide-ranging experience of advising on a multitude of commercial agreements, including standard terms and conditions of business, supply of goods and services agreements and distribution agreements.

Data protection

James leads the firm’s data protection law offering and has an extensive knowledge of data protection laws. He advises clients on a wide range of data protection-related matters, including data processor agreements and general compliance-related advice.


James is a key member of the firm’s healthcare sector group, helping drive the success of the group by initiating new relationships and cementing existing relationships. He played a leading role in the firm’s recent pitch to a multinational business operating in the sector, where the firm successfully retained its position on the client’s panel. James has significant transactional experience in this sector, most notably in relation to care homes, where he has led on a number of care home acquisition and disposal matters over the past few years.

Banking and finance

James advises both lenders and borrowers on loan and security documentation, including facility/loan agreements, debentures, corporate and personal guarantees, intercreditor arrangements and deeds of subordination.

Private wealth

James frequently engages his technical skills in the course of supporting the members of the firm’s private client team on a number of matters, including succession planning and business lasting powers of attorney.

Transactional matters with an insolvency element

James leads the corporate and commercial team’s offering in the context of the firm advising directors, companies and insolvency practitioners on a transactional matters with an insolvency element. Working closely with members of the dispute resolution, commercial property and employment teams, James is frequently instructed to work on transactions with incredibly challenging timeframes.

Recent work highlights include:

  • Advising the buyer on a £4.8m purchase of an SPV which owned a substantial property asset ripe for development.
  • Advising the buyer on a £1.4m and £1.6m purchase of two companies operating care home businesses.
  • Advising the sellers on a £1.6m sale of a company operating an online teaching business to an AIM listed company purchaser.
  • Advising the sellers on a £1.25m sale of a company operating a pharmacy business to a national pharmacy chain purchaser.
  • Advising a company operating an international payroll business upon an investment by a multi-billion dollar investment fund based in the US.
  • Advising a significant appointed representative of St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc in relation to various corporate administrative matters and the production of a shareholders’ agreement and bespoke articles of association.
  • Advising a multi-billion dollar US-based healthcare sector client in connection with the incorporation of a UK-based subsidiary and subsequently providing to that subsidiary corporate governance advice.
  • Advising local entrepreneur Danny Deacon and Hollywood actor and ex-professional footballer Vinnie Jones on a new joint business venture involving Deacon Jones Fine Flooring Ltd.
  • Advising a multinational panel healthcare client upon a number of GDPR compliance-related matters.
  • Advising a secured creditor of the Burningnights Group (in Administration) in connection with the sale of various Bierkeller bars to a national leisure sector operator.
  • Advising a sizeable care home operator on the purchase of a care home business from a company in administration.

In Touch

James studied law and completed the legal practice course at the University of Sheffield. James trained at SJ Berwin LLP (subsequently King & Wood Mallesons LLP) before qualifying in 2008 into the firm’s investment funds team. After working in the regions for a few years, he joined Debenhams Ottaway in 2016, rising to the position of senior associate in 2019.

James is a member of the Law Society, the firm’s corporate social responsibility committee and the St Albans City of Expertise Young Professionals Network. James is a keen sportsman, playing football, tennis and cricket and a family man who loves spending time with his two sons.

  • TRI 250 Turnaround, restructuring and insolvency

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What Clients Say
  • When you start a new venture with such unique features, it’s rare to find a team of people that fully understand what you are trying to undertake from the outset. The team at Debenhams Ottaway [led by James Brawn] has certainly achieved this and we feel very comfortable and confident working with them.

    Danny Deacon, Deacon Jones Fine Flooring Ltd
  • Your performance in this process has been exemplary…I will definitely be using your services in the future as and when we require them.

  • Many, many thanks for your indomitable spirit, wise advice and amazing work ethic – it would have been good to have had you on board…in our early days.

  • Your advice, both on the contract and the way to approach it was bang-on, so thanks a lot James, really appreciate it.

  • You were excellent to deal with.

  • Thank you so much for your support and patience on such an important transaction for me.  It really has been a pleasure to work with you.

  • Thanks ever so much for your help in this matter – extremely grateful that you were able to accommodate us in achieving our tight schedule. It’s been a pleasure dealing with you so far.