James is a partner in our growing corporate and commercial team.

He has over twelve 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 is currently ranked in Chambers UK and The Legal 500. He was also 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 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  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 a company operating an international payroll business upon an investment by a multi-billion dollar investment fund based in the US.
  • Advising a prominent UK-based operator of domestic and international walking holidays on a £4.7m refinancing of their property portfolio.
  • Advising a local developer on a £4.5m refinancing of their property portfolio.
  • 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 leading national firm of property advisors on 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 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. He trained at a Silver Circle firm and qualified as a solicitor in 2008. James joined Debenhams Ottaway in 2016, rising to the position of senior associate in 2019, salary partner in 2021 and equity partner in 2024.

James is a member of the Law Society and is a keen sportsman, playing tennis and cricket. James is also a family man who loves spending time with his wife and two sons.

  • TRI 250 Turnaround, restructuring and insolvency

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What Clients Say
  • James has been a key contact for our firm for years and always delivers in a fast and efficient manner. He also provides solid advice on the needs of our firm. In my 23 years of running a business which has a heavy emphasis on client service and delivering successful outcomes, he is one of the best lawyers I have come across.

    The Legal 500 UK 2023
  • Debenhams Ottaway are all incredibly helpful and responsive in their approach. You know you can rely on them to give you professional and friendly advice.

    The Legal 500 UK 2023
  • James Brawn is my stand-out individual at Debenhams Ottaway. I have worked with him for years and had prompt, courteous and solid advice. He is an excellent partner and very pragmatic and realistic in his approach to business.

    The Legal 500 UK 2023
  • I have worked with James for a number of years and he is a superstar. He is always readily available to assist in his courteous and professional manner.

    Chambers UK 2022
  • I have worked with several individuals from the practice, but in particular James Brawn stands out. He is incredibly engaging, very easy to work with and has a fantastic recall of what we have discussed on previous engagements. You never feel you start from scratch.

    The Legal 500 UK 2022
  • 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 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.

  • James had an excellent understanding of our business and needs, and always provided a first class service.

    IndigoZest Ltd
  • Considering how stressful, complicated and long this has been – you’ve done a phenomenal job. Thank you so much.

  • Thank you! For all you have done, you’ve been exceptional.

  • James is a friendly knowledgeable lawyer who applies logic to his client’s requirements!

    Lilian Wallace
  • I needed expert help on all areas of law as I wasn’t knowledgeable enough and James was able to ‘hand hold’ me through the whole process.

    Simon Goodman, Ludlow 1867 Ltd
  • Excellent client service with very clear “non technical” advice which resulted in an excellent LLP and contract agreement which went through external reviews without the need for alterations.

    David Baskerville, Baskerville Drummond
  • With James’s expert counsel, he helped us to navigate and understand the various aspect of commercial and company law to ensure we are operating effectively and understand our statutory duties as directors, which enables us to focus on running a successful business. Thank you James.

    Chris Lamb, Trend Tool Technology Ltd
  • Rapid turnaround, flexibility with regards to last-minute requests and attention to detail.

  • Provided professional service and feedback. Excellent ccustomer engagement.

  • Quick response and immediate understanding of the matter.

  • James Brawn is always giving decent, honest and straightforward and well thought out advice. James’s understanding of our client’s needs and goals has been invaluable in helping us navigate complex legal issues and make informed decisions. His willingness to go above and beyond is truly exceptional.

    Legal 500 UK 2024
  • James Brawn and his team provide excellent legal services. I am consistently impressed with James’ professionalism, expertise, and attention to detail

    Legal 500 UK 2024
  • James Brawn and Andrew Yates are sensible and pragmatic lawyers who are also clearly very good at what they do. They have an eye for the detail and technical aspects of the work, while also working hard to ensure that transactions are completed smoothly and efficiently for all involved.

    Legal 500 UK 2024
  • I’ve worked with James on multiple transactions and would not hesitate to do so again He is commercially savvy, pragmatic and a pleasure to work with.

    Chambers UK 2024
  • James is not only a very decent lawyer and adviser, but also a very kind, patient and approachable person.

    Chambers UK 2024
  • James has provided us with excellent levels of service and has handled some complex issues with thoughtfulness and efficiency.

    Chambers UK 2024