Jay is an attorney in the Long Island Office of the Firm. Prior to joining the Firm, Jay served as an administrative law judge (ALJ) with the Social Security Administration hearing and deciding cases involving a variety of issues concerning Social Security disability claims.  For his last year as an ALJ, Jay served as the National Grievance Chair for the Association of Administrative Law Judges, the union that represents the Social Security ALJs.  Jay served for 24 years on active duty as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force.  During his service in the Air Force Jay’s practice primarily involved employment litigation in Federal Court and trial and appellate criminal litigation.  Jay was the lead Air Force attorney in approximately 6 class action discrimination lawsuits.  He was also the Chief of the Air Force Appellate Defense Division, where he supervised the appeal of a case involving the death penalty.  After serving in the Air Force, Jay joined the New York City Law Department, also known as the Corporation Counsel’s Office.  He started as a trial attorney in the Tort Division and was rapidly promoted to become a Deputy Chief of the World Trade Center Litigation Unit.  In that position, Jay supervised the defense of billion-dollar property damage litigation against the City of New York and major toxic tort litigation.  Jay was also in charge of the collection of electronic evidence from all City agencies concerning the City’s response to the attacks on the World Trade Center.  After four years with the Corporation Counsel’s Office, Jay accepted an administrative law judge position.


  • Duke University, J.D., Highest Honors LLM
  • Texas Christian University, B.A.; Phi Beta Kappa
  • The George Washington University, Highest Honors

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois


  • A.B.A. Outstanding Young Lawyer for the Air Force

Additional Languages

  • German
  • Assisted in successful defense of billion-dollar lawsuit against New York City (NYC) for alleged destruction of Deutsche Bank Building as a result of attacks on the World Trade Center
  • Won motion for summary judgement in high visibility lawsuit against NYC alleging negligence by the City in deaths occurring during West Indian Caribbean Day Parade
  • Argued 12 cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • Supervised successful defense of Air Force death penalty case
  • Successfully argued Title VII employment discrimination case having federal government wide impact before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

About Us

James Kelly Law Firm provides legal services to clients throughout the State of Illinois — from small businesses to large corporations and municipalities. We help our clients resolve a wide variety of legal issues, with a specific focus in the areas of civil litigation, personal injury, and workers' compensation defense.