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.