James E. Odell
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CO-CHAIR, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY TEAM
James Odell co-heads our Financial Services Industry Team. Mr. Odell brings 30 years of experience in the financial services and investment banking industries. He has advised several of the world’s leading banks and investment banks on many of the industry’s most significant transactions and regulatory matters. Mr. Odell has served in a number of inside and outside counsel positions, including as General Counsel for UBS and General Counsel of Investment Banking for Citigroup.
Concentrating his practice in bank and securities regulation, investment banking, trading and markets, M&A and finance, Mr. Odell adds a broad set of skills and depth in the financial services industry which compliment the Firm’s strong capabilities in finance, litigation, white collar defense and investigations and financial services regulation.
Mr. Odell served as General Counsel for UBS Investment Bank where he managed UBS’s large and wide-ranging legal and compliance functions in the Americas region. At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Mr. Odell served as the co-General Counsel for UBS worldwide and represented UBS on the Treasury/Federal Reserve Wall Street crisis management team responsible for reviewing alternatives to the Lehman bankruptcy, the sale of Merrill Lynch, and establishing emergency financing facilities for the industry. While at UBS, Mr. Odell’s key areas of responsibility included bank and securities regulation, management of regulatory relationships, traded products, capital markets, investment banking, M&A, litigation and investigations, employment and compliance. He regularly advised UBS on material transactions including acquisitions and dispositions of several banking and securities businesses in Latin America (including the $2.5 billion acquisition of Banco Pactual), joint ventures in Canada and China, close-outs and restructurings involving Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Refco, several monoline bond insurers and the Republic of Argentina, debt and equity underwritings (including IPOs of General Motors and Vonage) and numerous leveraged finance transactions. Mr. Odell also supervised several of UBS’s most critical regulatory and litigation matters including numerous disputes and investigations relating to subprime mortgages and auction rate securities and transactional litigation relating to HealthSouth, Gillette/P&G, Lyondell and Finish Line/Genesco.
Prior to UBS, Mr. Odell was Global General Counsel of Investment Banking for Citigroup where he was responsible for supervising the provision of legal services to investment banking globally as well as managing all outside counsel engagements and relationships. He was a co-head of Citigroup’s commitment committees and a member of key management and operating committees. His transactional work focused on equity and debt capital markets, leveraged finance and high yield, corporate lending, workouts, and M&A. Some of the notable matters on which Mr. Odell advised Citigroup included the Google IPO, the equity research Global Settlement, and the Enron, Adelphia and WorldCom workouts/bankruptcies.
Prior to joining Blank Rome, Mr. Odell headed the legal function at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (“DTCC”), the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry. At DTCC, he supervised litigation and investigations, served as the senior legal adviser to DTCC’s business leaders on a number of critical strategic transactions and was a primary interface with the firm’s financial regulators (including the SEC, the NY Fed, the Treasury, and the FSOC) in connection with Dodd-Frank implementation and the FSOC’s “systemically important” designation process.
Before entering his GC roles, Mr. Odell worked as a partner at two Am Law 25 law firms, with his most recent role being the co-head of the securities practice group and the head of the high yield finance practice group. In private practice, Mr. Odell specialized in underwriter representation, domestic and international high-yield and represented numerous U.S. and international investment banks, private equity firms and corporations in connection with M&A and financing activities in the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Asia.
COMMUNITY SERVICE & AFFILIATIONS
Mr. Odell has served as a member of the Board of Advisors for the Institute for Law and Economics, a joint research center of Penn Law, the Wharton School, and the Department of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. He previously served as a member of the committee of counsel and the board of directors for The Clearing House Association, chairman of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce (New York), a trustee of the UBS Americas Fund for Better Government (PAC), and a member of the capital markets committee of SIA/SIFMA.
He is the Chairman of the Board and chief legal adviser to the AFYA Foundation, a medical non-profit organization that collects and delivers surplus medical supplies for emergency relief and ongoing health initiatives in Africa and the Caribbean. He also serves as a director and general counsel of The Danzer Foundation, a group affiliate of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Association.