James Russell > Humphries Kerstetter LLP > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Humphries Kerstetter LLP
St Bartholomew House
92 Fleet Street

Work Department

Commercial litigation and arbitration


James is the Managing Partner of the firm. He has over 18 years experience of contentious commercial practice. He has particular experience of complex financial disputes involving company law issues and breaches of fiduciary duty (in particular involving solicitors, directors and accountants). He is also experienced in insolvency litigation, civil fraud and claims relating to failed investment schemes. He has an interest in professional regulation and jointly advised (together with partner Toby Starr) the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking in relation to proposed reforms to insolvency regulation.

James has appeared as advocate in the Commercial Court in London, including against KCs, and has led multi-million pound claims in the City and the Channel Islands. He has also appeared in the Business and Property Courts (Insolvency List) and successfully acted as the lead trial advocate in arbitral proceedings.

His current and recent cases include the largest claim brought against Visa and Mastercard in relation to unlawful interchange fees, a high profile FX hedging dispute between Goldman Sachs and one of the world’s largest wine producers, a multi-million pound dispute with bondholders in relation to the acceleration of a €1.3 billion secured loan and the representation of shareholders in the high profile Core VCT liquidation in which claims for breach of duty are being pursued against the former managers and liquidators of a publicly listed venture capital trust


James trained at Linklaters LLP, qualifying into the Litigation Department in 2004. He remained with Linklaters until 2010 when he left to join Mark Humphries as his co-director at the firm which is now Humphries Kerstetter. He left the firm in 2013 and became a Partner and Head of Litigation at a leading regional practice. He re-joined the firm as a partner in 2017 following its conversion to an LLP and became managing partner in April 2022.


English and fluent Spanish.


  • 2001 – 2002: City LPC (Commendation) – The Oxford Institute of Legal Practice.
  • 2000 – 2001: CPE (Commendation) – The College of Law, Guildford.
  • 1996 – 2000: B.A. Spanish (First Class) – The University of Southampton.

Lawyer Rankings

London > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market

(Leading individuals)

James Russell – Humphries Kerstetter LLP

City litigation boutique Humphries Kerstetter LLP consistently acts in sizeable commercial disputes, on behalf of clients from a range of industry sectors, such as financial services, energy, defence, insurance, and IT. The practice also acts in commercial litigation involving international trade, Pharma, telecoms, media, construction, and extractive projects. Managing partner James Russell‘s experience encompasses commercial and financial disputes that frequently comprise trust and company law issues; senior partner Kristopher Kerstetter’s recent work includes High Court proceedings to enforce an arbitration award; Joanna Pearson is ‘definitely someone clients want on their side‘; Toby Starr has extensive experience in cases involving complex damages issues; and Robert Javin-Fisher acts for both claimants and defendants in major claims. Founder and former senior partner Mark Humphries, who routinely advises on complex cases, is a consultant since April 2022; and Chris Louth, a January 2023 recruit from Rosenblatt, and Harriet Bush are experienced managing associates.

London > Dispute resolution > Group litigation: Claimant

Litigation boutique Humphries Kerstetter LLP acts on complex commercial disputes, with significant experience in the class action space. Competition group litigation is a key strength of the team, having notably acted in the high-profile MasterCard and Visa interchange fees proceedings. Solicitor-advocate Toby Starr leads the team, with specific expertise in financial misselling and fraud claims. Key to the practice are consultant Mark Humphries, who co-founded the firm in 2009 after a long career at Linklaters LLP, and managing partner James Russell.

London > Dispute resolution > Banking litigation: investment and retail

Despite its boutique status, the team at Humphries Kerstetter LLPprovides the expertise and service levels of a magic circle firm’, acting for high-value corporates, banks, and individuals. Cross-border work is a mainstay of the firm that handles large-scale interchange litigation and professional negligence work. Joanna Pearson has over two decades of experience in complex financial services litigation and regulatory investigations and is head of the department. Also of note is managing partner of the firm James Russell, who is ‘excellent and hands-on’. Managing associate Chris Louth joined the team from Rosenblatt in January 2023.