James is a barrister at 3 Verulam Building chambers, specialising in commercial litigation and arbitration in London, the Middle East, the Far East, and the Caribbean. Having travelled widely in Egypt over several years, he joined EES in 2016 and began studying ancient Egyptian language on the EES short courses. Inspired by this, in 2019 he enrolled on a part-time MA in Archaeology at Birkbeck, with his dissertation research focusing on trade networks and interactions between Middle Kingdom Egypt and the Horn of Africa.

James also holds a degree in English Literature from Oxford University and an MPhil in Eighteenth Century Studies from Cambridge University. He was twice a Hawthornden Fellow for creative writing. He has been a co-opted member of the EES Premises Working Group since 2020.