James E. Abbott is a partner and the Co-Head of the Business Transactions Group at Seward & Kissel. Jim has practiced law since 1984. He joined Seward & Kissel as a partner in 2007.
Jim represents public and private companies, private investment funds, investment management firms, financial institutions, business owners and managers in connection with a variety of business transactions, financings and general corporate matters. Representative transactions include mergers and acquisitions, private equity, debt and venture capital transactions, seed capital arrangements, joint ventures, strategic alliances, PIPEs and other public and private securities offerings. His general corporate work includes the formation and organization of various business entities, including corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies, drafting letters of intent, confidentiality agreements, shareholder agreements, employment and consulting agreements, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, distribution and agency agreements, research and development agreements and various other forms of commercial arrangements.
In 2019, The M&A Advisor recognized Jim with its 2019 Leadership Award, and inducted him into its Hall of Fame. In 2018, The National Law Journal recognized Jim as an M&A Trailblazer, among only 27 attorneys nationally who it determined were “movers and shakers in the legal industry who have made an impact in their sector through new types of strategies or innovative matters.” In ranking Seward & Kissel’s Business Transaction Group as Highly Regarded for Corporate/M&A, Chambers USA ranked Jim Abbott a Leading Individual and reported that “clients are full of praise” for Jim, “saying that he always puts client satisfaction as a primary objective, brings a lot of experience to deals, and can explain legal items in everyday business terms.” In recommending the Seward & Kissel Business Transactions Group among the firms ranked in the middle market M&A category, The Legal 500 reported that “Co-business transactions group leader Jim Abbott is very helpful with the overall strategic advice and guidance he provides. Jim gets actively engaged in the entire process, providing superior service, and not only is he personable and affable, but he can subtly drive a very hard bargain.” Jim is also among the corporate lawyers recognized by New York Super Lawyers, and is ranked AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 by Martindale-Hubbell.
Jim has been a regular speaker and author on a variety of topics, including acting as an editor for IM Deals® (a blog covering investment management industry transactions), being a contributor to the 2013 book Best Practices of the Best Dealmakers, writing a chapter on “Mergers, Consolidations and Conversions Under the New York Limited Liability Company Law,” in the New York Limited Liability Companies and Partnerships book, and writing articles that include “Selling a Hedge Fund,” Hedge Fund News, “Pursuing Strategic Investment Opportunities,” New York Law Journal, “New Economy Strategic Alliances,” New York Law Journal, and “When the Seller Has Internet Related Business: Valuation and Due Diligence are Two Crucial Aspects of Analysis,” New York Law Journal. He was a panelist for the “M&A: The Art of the Deal” session sponsored by the New York Chapter of Financial Executives International, he made a presentation entitled “Earnouts: Recent Developments and Three Rules of the Road” at the JEGI Media & Technology Conference, he moderated a panel discussion entitled “Global Coverage: What’s Hot About India” at the M&A Advisor Annual Middle Market M&A Conference, he was a panelist for Investment Dealers’ Digest’s M&A panel on “Due Diligence in a Global Market”, and he was a panelist for the Wharton Entrepreneurial Speaker Series event entitled “When Selling Your Business Avoid Losing Millions From These Common Mistakes”.
Jim received a B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from Colgate University in 1981 and a J.D. degree from New York University School of Law in 1984, where he was a member of the Moot Court Board. Jim is admitted to practice in New York and is a member of the New York State Bar Association (International Law and Practice Section, Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States).