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About Jim

Deep experience across all aspects of banking law

Jim Kaplan is a senior banking lawyer with extensive experience in financial services, regulatory matters, and bank and financial services’ mergers and acquisitions ( M&A) and other transactional matters. In addition, he advises clients on complex financings and workouts, compliance, data privacy and cybersecurity, financial services litigation, and shareholder and governance matters. His clients come from most of the major business segments of financial services, including:

  • A substantial number of the 25 largest and most diversified U.S. banking institutions
  • Wealth management
  • Fiduciary
  • International finance

Jim is a former general counsel of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. and associate general counsel of The Northern Trust Company.

Experience in Action

  • Advises and acts for clients in major bank deals, particularly those in the asset management and trust space and those involving complex regulatory approval issues.
  • Works with all major federal and state financial services regulatory agencies, as well as some international agencies.
  • Advises foreign financial institutions on transactions and compliance with law in the U.S.
  • Advises on all aspects of financial regulatory matters, including compliance issues, anti-money laundering laws and sanctions regimes, privacy issues and lending and investment matters.


  • Provided advice to major bank on its national and international expansion programs, including acquisitions in the investment management, mutual fund, securities servicing and fiduciary spaces.
  • Counseled major bank on setting up de novo national banking and wealth management entity, and counsel on related regulatory issues.
  • Advised leading bank service provider as regulatory counsel in its unique, $100 million-plus acquisition of a major trust bank by a non-bank.
  • Guided large national services business on national expansion of their fiduciary business on a federally regulated platform.
  • Counseled European manufacturing company purchasing the controlling interest in a U.S. financial services joint venture from its JV partner, a large U.S. bank.
  • Advised major U.S. banking institution on its handling and response to supervisory action by its regulator relating to anti-money laundering, including development of a comprehensive AML/KYC program.
  • Assisted leading global bank, with over $300 billion in assets, on its correspondent banking activities in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia.

Professional Recognitions

  • Gonring Pro Bono Award recipient (2023)
  • Best Lawyers in America® (2023, 2024: Banking and Finance Law)
  • Law Bulletin Media "Illinois Leading Lawyer" (2017-present: Banking & Financial Institutions)
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated
  • Jane Beber Abramson Award for extraordinary dedication to pursuing justice for the wrongfully convicted, presented by Northwestern Law School Clinic Center on Wrongful Convictions (2011)
  • Michael Gonring Award "Pro Bono Partner of the Year" (2016)

Professional & Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association, member
  • Chicago Bar Association, member
  • New York State Bar Association, member
  • New York City Bar Association, member
  • Judge Milton I. Shadur, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, clerkship (1981–1982)
  • University of Chicago Law School Council, member
  • American Jewish Committee, regional board member and vice president
  • University of Chicago Law School, Public Interest Advisory Board
  • Northwestern Law School Bluhm Legal Clinic Center on Wrongful Convictions, advisory board, member

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