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Shoosmiths LLP

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James Keates

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Shoosmiths LLP

Work Department

Restructuring & Insolvency


James Keates heads up Shoosmiths’ corporate restructuring and advisory practice, positioning himself as one of the industry’s go-to lawyers when it comes to retail CVAs while taking an innovative cutting-edge approach to the process itself. His work has seen him inducted into the Hall of Fame in The Legal 500 directory, and is Band 1 in Chambers. He was also named Corporate Restructuring Lawyer of the Year at the industry’s highly prestigious Tri Awards.
In the past year alone, James has led on many company voluntary agreements for high-profile retail businesses including Regis Supercuts (220 retail outlets) Office Outlet (formerly Staples) (95 retail outlets), Select Fashion (183 retail outlets) and Fuel Juice Bars (28 retail outlets) in connection with its successful CVA proposals. James also advised Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited in connection with its highly complex restructuring. He also advised Karen Millen on its partial-purchase of struggling Coast Fashion, and regularly advises major high street lenders, asset based lenders and company directors in connection with all restructuring related matters.
Each of these CVAs resulted in the successful restructuring of these well-known high street chains, saving them millions of pounds and thousands of jobs in the process.

James has built up a market reputation for being the go to person in providing legal advice in relation to retail CVAs having, in recent months, worked on more than any other firm in the market.

James and his team take an innovative and commercial approach, and as a result are involved in a number of other high profile restructurings in the UK.

He is also advising administrators from BDO LLP in connection with a large, high value and extremely complex litigation matter, arising following the insolvency of a well-known retailer. 

Further, James is also recognised for his work with a number of well-known private equity houses in the distressed/turnaround sectors. 


Trained Brown and Corbishley, Newcastle under Lyme; qualified 1996; after one year of PQE moved to Beswicks Solicitors, Stoke-on-Trent; 12 months later moved to HBJ Gateley Wareing, Birmingham; senior associate Gateley Wareing 2006; partner Shoosmiths 2008 to date.




Newcastle under Lyme School; Staffordshire University (LLB Hons).


Golf, water polo.

West Midlands: Finance

Insolvency and corporate recovery

Within: Leading individuals

James Keates - Shoosmiths LLP

Within: Insolvency and corporate recovery

The 'great' team at Shoosmiths LLP acts for a range of insolvency practitioners and distressed businesses on all matters arising from distressed lending, corporate recovery and corporate insolvency, and also handles restructuring work for corporates and directors, including CVAs. Practice head James Keates has particular expertise in the retail sector, while Aaron Harlow specialises in the disposals and acquisitions of insolvent businesses.

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