Add a bookmark to get started

James L. Kelly

Chair, New York Private Equity

James is a strategic advisor to private equity funds and operating companies across many industries. He focuses his practice on representing private equity funds in all aspects of their investment activities, recently acting for Atlas Holdings, Bregal Partners, The Carlyle Group, Oaktree Capital Management and Stellex Capital Management, among several others.  The Private Equity practice at DLA Piper most recently ranked as the #1 most active legal advisor in global buyouts by number of deals by Pitchbook.  

James is recognized by The Legal 500 US in Private Equity Buyouts and has been recognized for numerous consecutive years by Chambers in New York M&A, has been featured in Buyouts, including a Buyouts Deal of the Year, The Deal, Bloomberg and Law360 as well as other leading publications.  He has presented for several education providers, including Practicing Law Institute, Strafford and Syracuse University College of Law.  He has received recognition for his pro bono work, including the Pro Bono Publico Award from The Legal Aid Society.  James is a member of the Syracuse University College of Law Board of Advisors.

His transactions include primary and secondary leveraged buyouts, add-on acquisitions, mergers and acquisitions, equity investments, divestitures and restructurings, including cross-border transactions involving numerous jurisdictions. He also regularly represents public and private operating companies and special purpose acquisition companies, across a variety of industries, including technology, software, video gaming, artificial intelligence, data and information, media, entertainment, business services, consumer goods and services, industrials and manufacturing, energy, engineering and infrastructure, food, agriculture, education, healthcare and life sciences.

Bar admissionsNew York


  • Represented Atlas Holdings in its leveraged acquisition of Foster Farms
  • Represented Bregal Investments in its leveraged acquisition of Juniper Landscaping
  • Represented Stellex Capital Management in its leveraged acquisitions of Peltram Plumbing Holdings, G2 Web Services, Lundquist Consulting and Fintellix India from TransUnion and its investment in PLH Group
  • Represented The Carlyle Group and its portfolio company iC Consult Group in its acquisitions of ICSynergy, SecureITSource and Kapstone Technologies
  • Represented Oaktree Capital Management, Assured Investment Management and Stellex Capital Management in the sale of PLH Group to Primoris Services Corporation
  • Represented Starling Physicians in its sale to VillageMD
  • Represented Brookline Capital Acquisition Corporation in its business combination transaction with Apexigen
  • Represented InfoDesk in its sale to Cuadrilla Capital
  • Represented Aonic in certain acquisitions in the video gaming industry
  • Represented Global Risk Capital in its acquisition of Cleaver-Brooks
  • Represented Columbus McKinnon Corporation in its leveraged acquisition of Dorner from EQT Mid Market US
  • Represented Kaleyra in its acquisition of mGage from Vivial
  • Represented The Wicks Group of Companies in connection with numerous platform, add-on and exit transactions, including: its leveraged buyout of Gladson from Lake Pacific Partners, Gladson’s add-on acquisitions of Nutritionix, WebCollage from Answers Corporation, ItemMaster, Edgenet and Shotfarm and its exit of Syndigo (f/k/a Gladson) to The Jordan Company; numerous add-on acquisitions for Invo, including Autism Home Support Services, Xcite Steps, Positive Behavioral Connections, ABA2Day and School Steps and its exit to Golden Gate Capital; its leveraged buyout of Bonded Services from Berggruen Holdings, Bonded Services’ add-on acquisitions of Bilton Arts and Inception Digital Services and its exit to Iron Mountain; its acquisition of Antenna Audio from Discovery Communications; its leveraged buyout of Education Direct from Thomson Corporation and its exit of Penn Foster (f/k/a Education Direct) to The Princeton Group
  • Represented Cortec Group in its sale of Dr. Leonard's to AmeriMark Holdings, a JH Partners portfolio company, its sale of Snyder Industries to Olympus Partners and its acquisition of the biologics and spine division of Smith & Nephew
  • Represented Centre Partners in its leveraged acquisitions of Dekko Technologies and Pent Technologies
  • Represented JP Morgan Partners in its sale of TIW to Vodafone
  • Represented Benjamin Jacobson & Sons in its sale to Goldman Sachs
  • J.D., Syracuse University College of Law
    magna cum laude
    Lead Articles Editor, Syracuse Law Review
    Order of the Coif 
  • B.A., University of Washington


The Legal 500 United States

  • Leading Lawyer, Private Equity Buyouts: Middle-Market (up to $500M) (2024)
Additional Awards
  • Private Equity Buyouts
  • Recognized by Chambers USA
  • Buyouts Deal of the Year
  • Pro Bono Publico Award from The Legal Aid Society