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Department ofFinance

Kelley, James


James Kelley

Professor of Practice, Finance

James Kelley is a professor of practice in the finance department at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. 

Born and raised in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, he is the middle of three sons. He didn’t recognize it at the time, but as a class officer, most likely to succeed, the scholar athlete, and co-captain of the wrestling team in high school, he spent much of his early life managing people. Upon graduation from high school he entered the US Military Academy at West Point which had been a dream of his since he first read The Long Grey Line as a child. At West Point, he was a cadet company commander as a senior and on the Dean’s list. He wrestled and played lacrosse at the intercollegiate level.

After graduation James was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in Armor branch. He was a company commander ahead of his contemporaries in a United States-based unit and was also made a company commander in Vietnam. Near the end of his scheduled tour in Vietnam he was seriously wounded while leading an attack on a North Vietnamese unit. These wounds ultimately led to a disability discharge and a career change.

Two years later, he was admitted to the Wharton Graduate division, at the University of Pennsylvania in the Health Care Administration program. When he graduated, he was hired as an assistant hospital administrator at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. CA. For almost seven years, he was responsible for 10 operational departments and liaised with four medical specialties. While working at El Camino he attended law school at Santa Clara University.

James passed the California bar on his first attempt and decided to leave hospital administration. At this same time, he was selected by Rotary International to be a participant in an exchange program. Five young business and professional people from a Rotary district are selected to visit another district, as part of a cultural and informational exchange. James' team spent five weeks in the south of England, visiting other Rotary clubs, touring businesses, learning about their industries and representing their district at a variety of occasions.

Upon his return he started law practice in the Palo Alto area. He also started teaching part time at the university level. After 15 years of corporate law practice among the growing Silicon Valley start-ups, James was given an opportunity to take on a few more classes. He started teaching in the SCU MBA program on a regular basis in 1997, and later also taught in the MSIS and undergraduate programs.

On a personal note, James met his wife, Kathy, while at West Point, and they married after she finished her undergraduate work. They have a daughter and a son who have been successful in their high tech careers, and also have two young grandchildren whom they enjoy spoiling. James and Kathy spend their free time traveling. As a history buff, he had always been intrigued to see Malta and explore its complicated past. This summer, they finally had a chance to do just that….with stays in New York , Iceland, Scotland, France, Monaco and Italy for good measure!

Professional Experience

James' legal practice consists of general corporate work, such as financings, contracts, protection of intellectual property, and human resource issues.

Law Offices of James F. Kelley 1992-2016
Cox & Padmore 1987-1992 
Beckford, Spanner & Kelley 1983-1987
Law Offices of Charles Knell 1981-1983

Assistant Administrator, El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA 1974-1981
Captain, US Army, Armored Cavalry Troop Commander 1969-1971 

Teaching Experience

Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA

  • Professor of Practice 2014-present
  • Coordinator of the Business Law Course  2014 - 2016
  • Recipient of Extraordinary Performance-Service & Teaching 2007-2008
  • Member Pre-Law advisory committee

Classes taught:

  • MGMT 505 Political, Legal, & Social Environment of Business (75+)
  • MGMT 169 Business & Society (10+)
  • MSIS 641 Ethics & Public Policy (6)


  • D., School of Law, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA
  • B.A, Wharton Graduate division, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • S., United States Military Academy, West Point, NY

August 2018