Banner triangles

Retail “CVA whizz” James Keates named in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 for 2020

Shoosmiths corporate restructuring and advisory partner James Keates has been named on The Lawyer’s Hot 100 list, a who’s who of the legal profession’s “brightest stars of 2020”.

The Lawyer Hot 100 report describes James as thriving in “the fast-paced and crisis-prone world of restructuring and insolvency” and calls him a “CVA whizz” for applying a sustainable approach to giving clients the “breathing space they need to survive”.

James said: “It’s been an incredibly busy 18 months for both myself and the corporate restructuring and advisory team at Shoosmiths. Over the past three years, the size and complexity of the work we’ve been carrying out has been increasing enormously and we’re known as one of the leading restructuring teams in the UK. We’re particularly pleased to be recognised as a market leader in the retail sector. This listing is a testament to the team’s expertise, hard work and commitment.”

The report states: “In late 2018, his role advising stationery chain Office Outlet on its company voluntary arrangement (CVA) marked the firm’s seventh retail CVA in under two years. In 2019, the list grew longer.

“Last January, Keates led on the administration of defunct airline Monarch’s engineering arm, which made 250 employees redundant. The agreement could not save the division, but the expedited CVA approval prevented the paralysis of airports, meaning that the administration progressed without affecting the public.

“In July, Keates advised on the CVA of imperilled fashion retailer Monsoon Accessorize, in which he helped rescue around 5,000 roles. In September, he helped with the CVA of London healthy eating chain Abokado, which had suffered a sharp drop in sales and blamed a sophisticated “bank fraud” that robbed it of much of its working capital.

“Keates has become a CVA whizz, using an insolvency technique that helps struggling retailers drastically slash business rate payments to councils. While landlords used to take all of the payments of property taxes upon themselves, Keates uses CVAs to reschedule payments and cut business rates to all of the creditors involved, including local authorities. It is a sustainable solution that gives grateful clients the breathing space they need to survive.”

James is also listed in Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.

He and the team have also worked on: Karen Millen’s acquisition of the business and assets of Coast from its administrators; the administrators of Oddbins; as well as the CVAs for Thomas Sabo, Regis/Supercuts, Select Fashion and Aldo Shoes.


This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2022.


Read the latest articles and commentary from Shoosmiths or you can explore our full insights library.