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, including Atlas Holdings, Bregal Partners, The Carlyle Group, Stellex Capital Management and The Wicks Group of Companies, among others. 

He 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, presented for Practicing Law Institute, Strafford and other education providers and received the Pro Bono Publico Award from The Legal Aid Society. Market recognition of the Private Equity practice at DLA Piper also includes: #1 legal advisor to investors (PitchBook), #1 global M&A deal volume for thirteen consecutive years (Mergermarket) and the #2 most active legal advisor in global buyouts deal volume (PitchBook). 

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, 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 (x) platform acquisitions, including its leveraged buyouts of 
    Gladson from Lake Pacific Partners, Bonded Services from Berggruen Holdings, Antenna Audio from Discovery Communications and 
    Education Direct from Thomson Corporation, (y) add-on acquisitions by its portfolio companies, including for Invo its acquisitions of Autism 
    Home Support Services, Xcite Steps, Positive Behavioral Connections, ABA2Day, and School Steps, for Gladson its acquisitions of 
    Nutritionix, WebCollage from Answers Corporation, ItemMaster, Edgenet and Shotfarm and for Bonded Services its acquisitions of Bilton 
    Arts and Inception Digital Services and (z) exit transactions, including its sale of Invo to Golden Gate Capital, Syndigo to The Jordan 
    Company, Bonded Services Group to Iron Mountain and Penn Foster to The Princeton Group
  • Represented management in its buyout of Ideal Snacks from Swander Pace
  • 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, Private Equity Buyouts 
  • Recognized by Chambers USA
  • Buyouts Deal of the Year
  • Pro Bono Publico Award from The Legal Aid Society