'James Ford is a rapidly rising star, superb analyst and networker.’
Legal 500


James is a senior associate in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice of the London office. He is a member of the White Collar Defence & Compliance and International Trade groups, which represent corporations, boards of directors, board committees, executives, and public officials in criminal, civil, and regulatory enforcement proceedings around the world.

James focuses on regulatory compliance, transactional advice, and investigations in the areas of economic sanctions, export controls, anti-corruption, ESG (particularly business and human rights), foreign direct investment, and anti-money laundering. He advises corporates across a range of sectors, including energy, mining and extractives, finance, defence, and transport, as well as a host of financial institutions, insurers and brokers.

James advises on designing and implementing compliance programmes; compliance programme reviews; designing and delivering training; conducting investigations; drafting and submitting disclosures; liaising with regulators and supporting licence applications; and transaction due diligence.

James’ experience includes in-house work in numerous sectors; he has been seconded to the global sanctions team of a major European bank; the group legal team of a European-headquartered mining company; the group export controls team of a major defence company during the term of a Consent Agreement with the US State Department; the disputes team of a major international bank; and the bribery and corruption team of a global oil and gas company.

James, who joined Mayer Brown in 2019, is a regular contributor to the firm’s “Eye on ESG” blog, and he has written articles for a range of publications including Global Investigations Review (GIR), Law360, Financier Worldwide, Governance & Compliance, European CEO, and IPE Magazine. He has also participated in numerous panel discussions on sanctions, anti-corruption, and ESG, and has been a guest speaker on the Royal United Services Institute’s flagship podcast, the “Suspicious Transaction Report.”

James sits on the Board of Transparency International UK and also established and leads the Transparency International Professional Supporters (TIPS) Network, a volunteer initiative of professionals, academics, and students aimed at supporting Transparency International's advocacy and outreach efforts.


  • Providing ongoing sanctions advice to a range of financial institutions and corporates, including in response to the expansion of UK, EU, and US financial and trade sanctions targeting Russia.
  • Providing ongoing sanctions advice to a range of professional services companies in response to the imposition of UK, EU, and US sanctions targeting the provision of services to Russia.
  • Advising on a range of regulatory disclosures and licence applications relating to sanctions and export controls.
  • Providing ongoing support and advice to the group export controls team of a major defence company.
  • Providing ongoing anti-corruption, business and human rights, and broader supply chain risk management advice to a major European-headquartered mining company.
  • Advising on the conduct of anti-corruption, sanctions, and broader compliance risk assessments for clients in a number of sectors, including mining, retail, offshore, chemicals, heavy industry, construction and, defence and aerospace.
  • Providing transaction due diligence support in the areas of anti-corruption, sanctions, and human rights in relation to a number of M&A transactions.
  • Designing and implementing anti-corruption and sanctions compliance programmes and delivering associated training for various clients, including a multinational food and beverage company, a global retail company, and a European-headquartered mining company.
  • Assisting a European-headquartered financial institution in connection with a multi-year US regulatory investigation.
  • Advising on the money laundering risks of a company's operations in the Middle East, CIS Region, and Africa.
  • Advising on an internal investigation in connection with whistleblower allegations around potential claims of anti-corruption, fraud, and related misconduct.
  • Advising on the UK's National Security and Investment Act regime and assisting on disclosures to the Investment Security Unit under the regime.


Yale University, BA (Political Science)



  • England and Wales
  • Listed as a key lawyer for EU and Competition, James Ford is noted for his knowledge of regulatory compliance and financial services sanctions programs - Legal 500 2023.
  • Listed as a key lawyer for Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime. 'James Ford is a rapidly rising star, superb analyst and networker.’ - Legal 500 2022.
  • Listed as a key lawyer and contact for EU and Competition - Legal 500 2020.