James is a transactional renewable energy lawyer with over 20 years' experience. He is the international head of our decarbonisation team and co-head of our international environmental, social and governance (ESG) practice.

Supporting our clients with their net zero strategy is a major focus of James's work. He leads our international team of legal consultants who help our clients and intermediaries reach their ESG, net zero, decarbonisation and sustainability objectives. James is known for his skill in developing legal and commercial solutions that enable investors and sustainable businesses to deliver a technology-driven, sustainable and decarbonised future.

As co-head of our international ESG practice, James helps our clients shape and implement their ESG strategy. His work includes advising on: legal horizon scanning of applicable ESG law across multiple jurisdictions; impact and action reports to help clients understand ESG obligations and how the business has to deliver on them; and gap analysis reports to help in-house teams map how they are covering ESG legal risks across an international business.

James also delivers tailored training sessions to legal or business teams on specific areas of ESG law. His ESG expertise includes greenwashing claims, sanctions risk, sustainability due diligence compliance, voluntary carbon markets, product labelling, and mandatory sustainability reporting.

A partner in our energy projects team, who led our international Energy & Utilities sector for three years, James supports innovation and transformation in the energy and utilities sector. He advises investors, funds, banks and developers in developing, investing in and financing projects in the renewables (solar, onshore wind and hydro), battery storage, hydrogen, bio-energy/waste resource management/waste to energy (including RDF/SRF supply and export, AD and biomass), combined heat and power, peaking plant, cleantech and power management sub-sectors.

James brings expertise in structuring, bidding, contracting, negotiating, financing, closing and post-completion matters on complex energy infrastructure transactions. He advises on funding options, security packages, risk management, supply chain structuring, grid connection, offtake and supply arrangements, renewable incentives, interface issues and the associated legal documentation development and completion.

I lead the firm's push into net zero and in exploring how we can become a better corporate citizen. This is important as in order to sell our legal services around Decarbonisation and ESG topics we have to be authentic in our own position in these important areas.

James Watson leads the team fantastically and ensures everyone provides a very high level of service and availability."

Legal 500

Supporting JLEN on their investment in a bio-fuelling business for a large logistics business


Supporting Downing on the acquisition of a shunt reactor in the UK


Supporting Equitix on their new management services arrangements for their whole offshore wind portfolio