James is one of the commercial bar’s “go-to” senior juniors. His “superb reputation and first class abilities” see him regularly instructed in many of the most high-profile and valuable commercial disputes. James combines “phenomenal” advocacy with “amazing” paperwork, “formidable intellectual ability” and “excellent” and “highly dedicated” client service (all quotes C&P/WWL).
James is a leading commercial junior practising in all aspects of commercial law, who regularly appears in the largest and most valuable Commercial Court cases (recent cases include Vestia v DB; Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton; DB v Sebastian, Vik). Particularly well-known for his high-profile general commercial and banking and finance practice, James’s practice encompasses all major areas of commercial law, including fraud, technology, energy, professional negligence, injunctions, jurisdiction, restructuring/insolvency, enforcement and international arbitration (under ICC, ICSID and LCIA rules).
James is ranked in Band 1 by C&P in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Banking and Finance, is listed as one of the 2 most highly regarded banking and finance juniors at the commercial bar (WWL 2019), has been nominated three times by C&P for banking or commercial junior of the year and was selected by both Legal Week and The Times as a “future star of the bar”. He acts as a senior junior within a larger counsel team, and also frequently acts unled leading a more junior barrister in substantial commercial cases.
Praise for James from the directories in recent years includes the following:
“A market-leading junior who is highly respected for his handling of complex banking and finance disputes. His practice in this area is diverse, spanning multi-jurisdictional cases and enforcement proceedings…He is experienced at acting as lead junior on top-drawer cases involving silks of the highest order… You feel as though James has all of the information at his fingertips; he has an incredible intellect and is a great thinker” (C&P 2020, Banking and Finance)
“Superb at quickly getting on top of a mountain of complex detail and producing high-quality advice, he is highly dedicated and offers excellent client service.” (C&P 2020, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
“[James] receives high commendation for his forensic rigour and formidable intellectual ability [and] his ability to adapt his approach to different clients and individuals” (WWL 2019)
“MacDonald's superb reputation and first-class abilities see him regularly instructed in the most high-profile of matters. He's a go-to senior junior for banking work, who's phenomenally hard-working, exceptionally bright and tremendously dedicated." (C&P 2018, Banking and Finance)
“A phenomenal advocate who fights for his clients with great tenacity” (WWL 2018)
“His written work is excellent and he is also a very strong trial advocate who is also great with clients” (C&P 2017, Banking & Finance).
“very able, very clever, very hard-working and produces a really good work product” “…has an impressive eye for detail and his advice is impressive” (C&P 2016, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
"His advice was extremely accurate and his performance in Court was exceptional” (C&P 2015, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
“The best draftsman that we have ever come across...he has this amazing ability to distil complicated facts and legal concepts into one neat phrase or term” (C&P 2014, Banking and Finance)
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