James T. Towne, Jr.

Principal and Vice President

James T. Towne, Jr., one of the firm’s founding principals, has been representing individuals, businesses, municipalities and related entities for over 40 years, addressing and handling a range of matters including: commercial litigation, corporate and commercial law matters, personal injury litigation, commercial and residential real estate, Indian Law, professional malpractice claims against attorneys and accountants, equine law, harassment claims, employment issues, zoning, planning and tax certiorari matters.   Moreover, Mr. Towne’s highly developed understanding of ethics as it impacts both businesses and government agencies allows him to provide invaluable services, whether as ethics counsel to government agencies or as an active ethics board member serving his community.  Mr. Towne also provides assistance with technology issues as they relate to the law and other “hot button” topics which may arise with the ever changing legal landscape. From car dealerships to the Akwesasne Mohawk and Seneca Nations, Mr. Towne’s experience allows him to provide the specific services needed by a variety of clients.

Mr. Towne has been recognized professionally by appearing on the list of Upstate New York Super Lawyers for thirteen consecutive years as well as being on the “Top 25” Hudson Valley Lawyers list.

Mr. Towne’s dedication to the legal field has been evident throughout his career.  His 19 years on the Board of the Legal Aid Society, twice a recipient of the Legal Aid Society’s Distinguished Services Award and a nominee for the ABA’s Pro Bono Publico Award are testament to Mr. Towne’s passion for affording access for all to the legal system. In 2015, Mr. Towne was awarded the Legal Project’s Champion Award in recognition of the funding of the Legal Project’s William E. Byron Technology Center, founded by Mr. Towne and his wife Sue Towne, in honor of her father.  The Center provides a location and platform for training service providers and connecting remote rural clients in need with attorneys thereby expanding the availability of much needed legal services.

In 2017 Mr. Towne was asked to be a visiting professor at the Univerzita Pardubice in the Czech Republic teaching United States corporate, commercial and contract law. The lectures focused specifically on federal, New York and Vermont law as well as comparisons of relevant United States legal practices with those of the Czech Republic and the European Union. These lectures were provided by the Center For International Legal Studies (“CILS”), a non-profit law research, training, and teaching institute, established and operating as a public interest society in Salzburg, Austria. CILS’ essential purpose is to promote and disseminate knowledge among members of the international legal community.  Mr. Towne  is now looking forward to the future classes he will teach in Kazakhstan and Kenya.

James Towne came to the Capital District in 1972 after his discharge from the United States Navy to attend Albany Law.  His love of his adopted home is evident through his extensive community service. Whether as a board member of the National MS Society for 20 years, a Board Member of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, a board member to the Saratoga County Youth Board and in his current board position with Saratoga P.L.A.N. in its land use efforts to preserve and expand open spaces for Saratoga County residents, Mr. Towne has been a lifelong advocate for community service. In 2013 Mr. Towne and his wife Sue Towne, founded and funded the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative (“MDOCS”) at Skidmore College. MDOCS is an interdisciplinary program collecting, collating, assembling and presenting stories of the human experience in documentary media and technologies as well as a variety of artistic mediums.  Designed to expose faculty and students to documentary mediums for critical inquiry, discovery, civic engagement and exposition, MDOCS has become a national leader in embedding and advancing documentary arts within a liberal arts curriculum.  To expand MDOC’s reach, in 2014 Mr. Towne and his wife Sue Towne, founded the Storyteller’s Institute at Skidmore. The Institute offers a 5 week summer residency program hosted by the college allowing visiting professional documentary practitioners and student interns to explore and advance their crafts.

Mr. Towne’s  commitment and dedication to advance educational, not-for-profit foundations and community organizations is not only a focus domestically but extends overseas.  James Towne is the founding trustee of the Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation (“LCCF”) formed in 2001.  His efforts have brought health, education, social service and conservation support to over 19,000 Laikipiak Maasai and Samburu living in remote and impoverished villages in northern Kenya.  LCCF has built and funds primary schools providing basic educational services to over 700 students annually, as well as providing scholarships to over 200 students through secondary school, college, university and graduate degrees.  He has devoted countless hours of personal time and support, and has championed innovative ideas for new services, methods of delivering needed assistance and enhancing fund-raising efforts.

Outside of his practice and passion for community involvement, Mr. Towne enjoys spending time with his family which includes eight grandchildren.  Travel abroad and sailing are also a big part of his leisure activities and the source of many tales.

Education

  • Albany Law School of Union University, J.D., 1975
  • University of Vermont, B.A., 1971

Bar Admissions

  • New York, 1976
  • Vermont, 1983
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, 1976
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, 1997
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1997
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 1997
  • U.S. District Court, District of Vermont, 1983
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1998
  • U.S. Tax Court, 2011
  • St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Bar, 2012
  • Seneca Nation Probate Counsel, 2015

Presentations

  • Speaker, A Horse Owner’s Guide to Equine Law, Saratoga Driving Association’s Mid-Winter Driving Conference, 2018
  • Senior Visiting Professor, Univerzita Pardubice, Pardubice, Czech Republic, December 2017
  • Speaker, A Horse Owner’s Guide to Equine Law, Cornell Cooperative Extension Equine, 2013 & 2017
  • Moderator, Parlaying the Casino and Racing Industries, Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law, The Government Law Center of Albany Law School, 2013
  • Speaker, Protect Yourself and Your Farm: A Horse Owner’s Guide to Equine Law, Saratoga Horse Symposium, Cornell Cooperative Extension Equine, 2012
  • Moderator, Horse Ownership Responsibilities, Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law, The Government Law Center of Albany Law School, 2012
  • Moderator and Lecturer, Labor, Employment and Immigration Laws Affecting the Equine Industry, Saratoga Institute on Racing and Gaming Law, The Government Law Center of Albany Law School, 2008
  • Lecturer, Equine Syndication, Albany Law School Government Law Center, 2004
  • Lecturer, Labor Law Update, ALI-ABA, 2004
  • Lecturer, Preparing and Drafting the Operating Agreement of an LLC and PLLC, New York State Bar Association, 2000

Honors & Awards

  • Recipient, The Founders Award, The Giving Circle Compassion Awards, 2017
  • Selected to Super Lawyers Upstate New York list (top 5% of attorneys based upon peer reviews and other criteria) as one of the top attorneys in Upstate New York, Business Litigation, 2007-2019
  • Selected for Lifetime Achievement Award, America’s Top 100 Attorneys®, Upstate New York, 2016
  • Named on the list of Top 25 Hudson Valley Lawyers in the New York Super Lawyers – Upstate magazine, 2014-2016
  • Recipient, The Legal Project Champion Award, The Legal Project, 2015
  • Member, Franchise Oversight Board, New York Racing Association (Appointed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo), 2012- present
  • Recipient, MS Achievement Award, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2006
  • Recipient, PAI Distinguished Service Award, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, 1999
  • Nominee, American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, 1988
  • Recipient, PAI Distinguished Service Award, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, 1988

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Member, Akwesasne Mohawk Bar Association
  • Member, Albany County Bar Association
  • Member, African Wildlife Foundation
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Associated General Contractors New York State
  • Founder and Editor, Auto Dealers’ Newsletter
  • Affiliate Member, Eastern New York Coalition of Automotive Retailers
  • Member, Federal Bar Association, Vermont Chapter
  • Member, Federal Bar Council and Foundation
  • Member, Laikipia Plateau Forum
  • Trustee, Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation, Inc.
  • Member, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
  • Member, National Association of Dealer Counsel
  • Member, New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member, New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.
  • Member, Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association
  • Charter Member, Racing and Wagering Law Network, Government Law Center, Albany Law School, Union University
  • Member, Rensselaer County Bar Association
  • Member, Saratoga County Bar Association
  • Member, Saratoga County Youth Board
  • Board Member, Saratoga P.L.A.N., Inc., 2014- Present
  • Founding Member, The Foal Project
  • Advisory Board Member, The Legal Project, 2015-Present
  • Member, Board of Ethics, Town of Ballston
  • Designated Arbitrator and Mediator and Early Neutral Evaluator, Dispute Resolution Program, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York
  • Member, Vermont Bar Association
  • Member, Warren County Bar Association
  • Former Board Member, Upstate New York Chapter, National Multiple Sclerosis Society (1989-2007)
  • Former Board & Executive Committee Member, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Inc. (1988-2007)
  • Former Vice Chair, Upstate New York Chapter, National Multiple Sclerosis Society (2003-2007)
  • Former Board Member, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America (1991-2003)
  • Former Member, American Arbitration Association (1981-2000), Panel of Arbitrators, Commercial and Construction Panels
  • Former General Counsel, Capital Region Auto Dealers’ Association (1988-1995)