James is the national head of
Shoosmiths’ Corporate Restructuring and Advisory department.
James specialises in acting for
corporates, company directors, insolvency practitioners, private equity
holders, banks and asset based lenders, on all matters in relation to business
restructuring, distressed lending and corporate insolvency.
James is particularly well regarded, and
has extensive experience, in relation to business restructurings and
insolvencies within the retail sector - James is known as one of the industry’s
leading lawyers when it comes to securing CVAs for a wide range of high profile
retail businesses. In the last 3½ years, James has been involved in over
15 retail CVAs. Over the last 18 months, these include, Monsoon
Accessorize, Select Fashion and Regis UK (trading as Supercuts). In
addition, James has been the lead advisor in connection with the following
- The administration of Office Outlet (formerly the
business known as Staples);
- The acquisition by Karen Millen of part of the
business and assets of Coast from its administrators, including advising
in connection with the structuring of the transaction to minimize risk,
securing the ongoing employment for over 600 employees;
- The administration of Monarch Aircraft
Engineering Limited, a company of significant strategic importance within
the aviation industry with circa 800 employees, carrying out the
maintenance, repair and overhaul of commercial airplanes primarily out of
Birmingham and Luton airport;
also has significant experience in challenges brought to the validity of retail
CVAs, having taken a leading role in both defending and bringing such actions
in respect of the most recent leading cases on retail CVAs.
James Keates was the winner of Corporate
Restructuring Lawyer of the year at the National Turnaround and Insolvency
Awards in 2018 and is recognised in the Legal 500 “Hall of Fame” for “receiving
constant praise” from his clients “for continued excellence” and for being “at
the pinnacle of his profession.