Listed in Band 1 amongst Criminal silks by Chambers and Partners. In 2013 he is noted as "Not one for the soft approach," as "among the greatest" by enthusiastic sources, who pinpoint his "massive trial experience". In 2012 it was reported "James Wood is a 'thorough brief and a clever man' who is 'more than solid'. 'Unstoppable on his day', he studies the details of a case and then 'produces fireworks in court'". He is also listed in Legal 500 for his crime and civil liberties work, and recognized for his “heavyweight criminal defence practice”.

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Does Direct access work, particularly in Criminal Appeal work, and sentencing hearings and short trials not involving evidential or litigation issues, or mitigations. He will consider direct access approaches in all areas of work. One happy client writes “it was important to find a barrister who could understand and present issues in the way that mattered to me. Mr. Wood proved an ideal choice. Throughout the process, he was engaged and proactive, allowing him to channel my perspective into forceful legal argument. At the same time, he was never shy to take a stand when he felt a line of argument would be harmful to the defence. I feel confident in recommending Mr. Wood.”

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