James Kelly is a Tax Controversy partner in Mayer Brown's New York office. Since joining the firm in 2012, James has represented taxpayers in federal tax controversies involving major corporate tax matters before IRS Exam and IRS Appeals and in litigation. James's litigation experience includes trial work in the United States Tax Court as well as matters in the United States District Courts. His practice has focused in particular on transfer pricing (including advance pricing agreements and litigation), partnership tax law, substance-over-form doctrines, debt-versus-equity characterization, procedural questions, and privilege issues. He has also advised clients regarding potential challenges to guidance and regulations under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

James has actively participated in the firm's pro bono efforts, performing corporate and tax planning to establish several non-profit organizations and advise them on an ongoing basis.

James received his JD magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School where he was Order of the Coif and the recipient of the Richard Katcher Senior Tax Prize.


  • Tribune Media Company F.K.A. Tribune Company & Affiliates v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Docket No. 20940-16 (tax treatment of leveraged partnership transaction).
  • Chicago Baseball Holdings, LLC, Northside Entertainment Holdings, LLC, F.K.A. Ricketts Acquisition, LLC, Tax Matters Partner v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Docket No. 20941-16 (tax treatment of leveraged partnership transaction).
  • Guidant LLC, et. al., v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Docket Nos. 5989-11, 5990-11, 10985-11, 26876-11, 5501-12, 5502-12 (IRC § 482 reallocations).
  • Eaton Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Memo. 2017-147 (finding after trial that the IRS’s cancellation of Advance Pricing Agreements was an abuse of discretion).
  • United States v. Eaton Corporation, Nos. 1:13-mc-102, 1:13-mc-111, 1:13-mc-112 (N.D. Ohio 2014); 2:13-cv-01825 (W.D. Pa. 2014); 3:13-cv-01956 (D.P.R. 2014) (summons enforcement litigation).
  • Eaton Corporation v. Commissioner, 140 T.C. 410 (2013) (abuse of discretion standard applies to advanced pricing agreement cancellation).


The University of Michigan Law School, JD, magna cum laude
Order of the Coif

New York University, BS


  • District of Columbia
  • New York


  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • US Tax Court