JB Kelly is a member of Cozen O’Connor’s State Attorneys General Practice. Leveraging his more than 30-year career in the public sector working with state attorneys general (AG) and as a private sector attorney, he handles a variety of complex, often multistate matters, involving critical public policy and strategic issues.
In addition to advising and representing clients in connection with AG issues across the country, JB counsels clients on a variety of consumer protection issues, especially those involving deceptive or unfair trade practices. He represents clients facing regulatory scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as well as by the state-level counterparts, which have similar statutory jurisdiction through “Little FTC Acts.” JB also helps clients understand consumer fraud laws and assists them in successfully navigating consumer complaints and the related government oversight process.
JB has extensive experience assisting clients in addressing enterprise-threatening, publicly scrutinized issues that require a sophisticated and nuanced approach with regulators, shareholders, consumers and other stakeholders. Although this includes preemptive compliance counseling and training, when issues do arise, JB also works with clients to design and implement accompanying tactics for communication with both regulators and the public that allow for minimal interruption of their business operations. When enforcement action is unavoidable, he regularly advises clients in negotiations with state AGs, the FTC and other federal regulators and represents them in inquiries, investigations and litigation.
Given his robust public service background, JB employs his enforcement insight to advise clients on both preemptive compliance and compliance necessary in the aftermath of a settlement or order. In this capacity, he advises on implementation of remedial measures and improvement of internal controls that both satisfy the agreement terms and bolster investor and consumer confidence.
Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business has repeatedly ranked JB as a leading practitioner, describing him as a “[h]ighly experienced attorney [who] has significant experience handling matters for public and private sector clients in an impressive docket of Attorney General matters. According to recent editions of Chambers USA, clients say "JB is a phenomenal attorney. He brings a unique perspective to his clients and the attorneys he has to work with. He is very adept at guiding clients through a legal process, seeing the issue from 360 degrees."
JB served as general counsel to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper from 2001 to 2012, overseeing major litigation involving the state of North Carolina. He was a member of the negotiation teams in high-profile, multistate settlements involving mortgage foreclosure, Ameriquest and tobacco, among others. He also oversaw the strategy, planning and development of Attorney General Cooper’s 2010 National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) presidential initiative focused on consumer protection strategies, analysis of Dodd-Frank provisions related to attorneys general, and preventing future financial crises. During that time he served in numerous leadership capacities for NAAG, including leading chief deputy training during Attorney General Cooper’s NAAG presidential term, as well as serving on its working groups for strategic planning and best practices, and its office review team. From 1996 to 2001, JB was senior counsel at Employment Learning Innovations, and from 1994 to 1996, he was special counsel for policy initiatives to North Carolina Attorney General Mike Easley. JB began his career in private practice.
While in law school, he served as research editor of the North Carolina Law Review.