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Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

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Work 020 3400 1000
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Abu Dhabi, Atlanta, Beijing, Berlin, Boulder, Brussels and 33 more

Polly James

Work 020 3400 1000
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner HRO

Work Department

Financial services regulation.


Partner specialising in financial services law and regulation.  Having spent time on secondment to the FSA’s Enforcement Division, has a close understanding of how the regulator works in practice. Polly represents financial institutions and members of their senior management on regulatory enforcement actions brought by the PRA and FCA across a range of sectors including mortgage broking, corporate banking, Forex, insurance mediation and transition management.  Polly also works closely with firms to identify and manage areas of regulatory risk and prepare their senior managers for regulatory approval interviews and Section 166 Skilled Person reviews.  She also regularly advises on the implementation of the Senior Managers Regime for banks and the Senior Insurance Managers Regime for insurers. Currently advising financial institutions clients on the implications of Brexit. Actively involved in the firm’s Diversity task force and Pro Bono Partner for the Litigation and Corporate Risk department. 


Trained at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, qualified 2004; litigation department (Financial Institutions Disputes Group) 2004-2007; secondment to the Financial Services Authority 2004-2005; secondment to AIG 2007; Associate/Senior Associate at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP 2007-2016; promoted to Partner in May 2016. Contributor to A Practitioner’s Guide to Financial Services Investigations and Enforcement (Thomson Reuters).


Financial Services Lawyers Association; Law Society.


St Albans High School for Girls; Cambridge University (1999, English BA Hons, First Class); Oxford Brookes University (2001, Advanced Legal Studies Diploma, Distinction); Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (2002, Legal Practice Course, Commendation).

London: Corporate and commercial

Financial services

Within: Financial services

Benefiting from 'deep practical experience', Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is best-known for its contentious expertise and is recognised as a 'strong choice for anyone looking beyond the Magic Circle'. Team head Nathan Willmott is an 'excellent lawyer' and has vast experience at handling regulatory investigations and enforcement actions both from a purely domestic as well as cross-border perspective. 'Hugely experienced' consultant Sidney Myers 'knows the FCA inside out' and has expertise across a wide array of work including in relation to market manipulation of financial benchmarks and insider dealing. At a more junior level, the 'very knowledgeable and hardworking' Oran Gelb is developing a strong reputation across both regulatory investigations and financial services litigation, and the 'tenacious and ambitious' Polly James is 'very strong on market abuse cases'. James is also fairly active on the non-contentious front (particularly in relation to Senior Managers and Certification Regime matters) and is emblematic of the firm's coordinated and fluid approach in relation to advisory work, mindful as it is to mitigate against potential litigious problems further down the line but seamlessly able to handle any issues should they arise. The 'user-friendly and accessible' Daniel Csefalvay joined the team in October 2017 from Linklaters LLP and is noted for his 'excellent working knowledge of the complicated regulatory regimes'. Csefalvay is particularly active in the wholesale market acting for investment banks, broker dealers, high frequency trading firms and market infrastructure providers on critical regulatory reform projects including MiFID ii. Matthew Baker is 'also very good' and regularly supports the firm's funds clients on regulatory issues. Clients include AIG, Aviva and CBRE Global Investors.

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London: Risk advisory


Within: Brexit

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP - which was formed after Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP and Bryan Cave merged in April 2018 - has a specialist Brexit taskforce, which is led by competition and international trade partner Chris Bryant. With Bryant at the helm, the firm is at the forefront of advice to clients on a wide range of matters, including scenario and contingency planning, restructuring and regulatory issues. It has been particularly active in guiding clients through the impact of a no deal scenario, and what the impact of the UK relying on WTO rules would mean for their businesses. The firm has also played a key role in shaping the UK government's policy towards Brexit, with team members having provided evidence at Parliamentary Select Committees and the Department for International Trade. Financial services regulatory expert Polly James has been advising a variety of clients in the industry on the impact of Brexit, including the loss of passporting rights and alternative business models. Matthew Baker focuses on issues affecting the investment management industry, while Geraldine Quirk advises insurance sector clients on a wide range of non-contentious matters. James Marshall acts for clients from sectors such as aviation, water, energy and transport. Senior lawyer consultant Marieke Datema is also recommended.

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Regulatory investigations and corporate crime

Within: Regulatory investigations and corporate crime

Berwin Leighton Paisner and Bryan Cave merged to form Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP¬†in April 2018. The firm acts in the areas of anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering, tax, employment, corporate crime, financial regulation, anti-trust and competition. Working in conjunction with its Russian and Asian offices it offers a full service to international clients, including in-house forensic services. Clients include AIG and Marubeni Corporation. Andrew Tuson¬†heads the team, he is ‚Äėextremely knowledgeable in the general area of financial crime, and particularly market abuse‚Äô. Oran Gelb¬†and Polly James¬†are recommended. Richard Chalk¬†joined as partner from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Former practice head Aaron Stephens¬†left the firm for King & Spalding LLP.

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Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner HRO

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