James S. Rowe is a retired partner in the corporate transactional group with more than 30 years of experience in corporate finance transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and the representation of public and private companies in a wide array of corporate and securities matters. Jim represented a broad range of clients, with a principal focus on representing private equity funds and their portfolio companies in capital markets transactions, including IPOs and public and private offerings of high yield and investment grade debt, and in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, including leveraged buyouts and "going private" transactions. Jim has considerable experience in advising both seasoned and newly public companies on securities and corporate governance matters and routinely advised directors and officers on fiduciary responsibilities and disclosure obligations.


Thought Leadership


Author, “The Securities Act of 1933 and Section 5 Issues,” chapter two of a two-volume securities compilation entitled “Securities Law,” 2003 Edition, published by the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education

Author (with Jack S. Levin and Robert M. Hayward of Kirkland & Ellis), “What Every Private Equity Professional Must Know About Sarbanes-Oxley Reforms,” Venture Capital Review, Issue 11, Fall/Winter 2002


Panelist, "The Process of an IPO," sponsored by Northwestern University's Entrepreneurship Law Center Student Group, March 2012

Panelist, Corporate & Securities Law Forum, "Looking Around the Corner: What's Next in Transaction Trends, Governance and Compliance," co-sponsored by Kirkland & Ellis LLP and the New York Stock Exchange, November 2004

Panelist, "SEC 'Hot Topics' Institute," sponsored by Glasser LegalWorks and RR Donnelley, delivering a presentation entitled "The Impact of Sarbanes-Oxley on the Underwriting Process and M&A Transactions," May 2004

Panelist, "Audit Committees and Auditor Independence: Managing Change in Changing Times," Ray Garrett Jr. Corporate and Securities Law Institute, Northwestern Law School, April 2003

Panelist, November 2002 symposium "Corporate Responsibility in an Era of Regulatory Change: Making Sense of the New Rules," co-sponsored by Kirkland & Ellis and the New York Stock Exchange

Panelist, "The Securities Laws and the Internet," Ray Garrett Jr. Corporate and Securities Law Institute, Northwestern Law School, April 2000, delivering a presentation entitled "Counseling an Issuer in Responding to Cybersmear"

Speaker, Annual Securities Law Institute of the Chicago Bar Association, March 2000, discussing recent developments under the Securities Act of 1933 and delivering a presentation entitled "Traps for the Unwary in the Administration of Directed Share Programs"


Recognized in the 2012–2016 and 2020 editions of The Legal 500 U.S. in Capital Markets: High-Yield Offerings as an attorney in 2012 with a "growing reputation." In 2015, clients noted that Jim is "very pleasant to work with."

Memberships & Affiliations

Chairman of the Securities Act Subcommittee of the Securities Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association, 1999–2001

Member of the Board of Directors and Strategic Planning Committee of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, 2011–current

Member of the Duke Law Board of Visitors, 2017–current


Admissions & Qualifications

  • 1991Illinois


  • Duke University School of LawJ.D.1991
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignA.B., Political Sciencemagna cum laude1988