James Kamau is the Managing Partner of IKM. James is a leading corporate and projects lawyer in Kenya with over 24 years post admission experience. He has handled numerous complex transactions at home and abroad, and is the trusted legal adviser of leading local and multinational companies, private equity firms and DFIs with extensive business and investments in East Africa. His main areas of practice include corporate law, projects and infrastructure, mergers and acquisitions and private equity.


James joined IKM then known as Iseme & Company Advocates) as an Associate, and today leads the firm as Managing Partner.



  • University of Nairobi, LLB (1987 – 1990)
  • Kenya School of Law: Diploma in Law (1990 – 1991)

Professional Qualifications

  • Law Society of Kenya 
  • Member of East Africa ICT Impact Investing Task Force 
  • Admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya (1991)

Further Training

  • DLA Piper Harvard Leadership Programme: Harvard Business School
  • International Tax Law: Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyer, South Africa and the Robert Kennedy College, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Private Equity: Private Equity International, Switzerland

Key experience

  • Acted for an LSE listed financial institution in the acquisition of a majority shareholding in a Kenyan bank.
  • Advised the Board of Directors of a leading bank in Kenya, listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, in respect of the reorganisation of its corporate structure that arose from certain share swaps affecting its parent holding company and a number of its subsidiaries across Africa.
  • Advised a leading Kenyan bank with subsidiaries in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, in a corporate restructuring exercise through the formation of a non-operating holding company domiciled in Kenya.
  • Involved in the restructuring of a leading group of companies with interests in farming, real estate and hotels.
  • Involved in a legal and tax health check on one of the largest non-profit corporations registered in the state of Washington, USA with operations in 21 countries in Africa.
  • Involved in setting up a private equity fund in Luxembourg with a feeder fund in Mauritius.
  • Advised a local bank on the sale and change of receivers for a leading chain of hotels in Kenya.
  • Advised two DFIs in a cross-border investment in South Sudan.
  • Advised a leading financial institution based in South Africa on the process and feasibility of setting up a bancassurance business model in Kenya.
  • Advising the senior lenders in a 70 MW geothermal power project by an independent power producer.
  • Advising the developer in a 140 MW geothermal power project by an independent power producer.
  • Acted for a Fortune 500 energy company in the setting up of a proposed wind project in Kajiado County.
  • Advised the developers in two 40 MW solar power projects in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya.
  • Advising the developer of solar power projects of up to 2000 MW being undertaken in phases.
  • Advising the lenders in a 980 MW coal fired plant in Lamu, Kenya.
  • Advising the sponsor of several hydro electric power projects.
  • Advised the Kenyan Ministry of Health on the procurement of critical medical equipment for 98 public hospitals across Kenya using a managed equipment services (MES) arrangement.
  • Advised the Export Processing Zones authority on proposed strategic interventions to enhance the investment environment and increase domestic and foreign investments in Kenya’s Textile and Apparel manufacturing sectors.
  • Advised a private party on the most optimal model for procurement of ICT in equipment in public primary schools in Kenya.
  • Advised a state corporation on a bridge Public-Private Partnership (PPP) – one of Kenya National Treasury’s priority PPP projects. 
  • Acted for the providers of equity or mezzanine debt for initial contractors that will be constructing roads assigned in lots under the Kenya Ministry of Transport & Infrastructure’s Roads 10,000 programme (Phase 1 being for 2,000 km of roads).
  • Advising a developer of a special economic zone project in Mombasa, Kenya.

Experience record

  • 1992

    Advocate, Commercial and Conveyancing practice - IKM

  • 1993

    Partner, Commercial and Conveyancing practice - IKM

  • 2000

    Managing Partner - IKM

Languages spoken

  • 100
English - Excellent
  • 80
Kiswahili - Good
  • 60
French - Fair

Market recognition

James Kamau is ranked in Corporate and Commercial. James is praised by clients for his logical approach and “clear view of the commercial angle”. “...His wide-ranging expertise includes considerable knowledge of corporate finance transactions. Peers and clients are enthusiastic in their feedback, and he is commended for his extremely commercial and practical approach.”

Chambers Global 2015