James C. Munsell


JIM MUNSELL counsels investment advisers and investment funds in connection with a broad range of corporate, securities, derivatives and regulatory matters. His clients range from small, closely held start-up investment management businesses to the investment management divisions of global financial institutions. 

Jim's principal areas of practice include: 

  • Pooled investment product design and development; 
  • Private investment funds, including hedge funds, private equity funds and hybrids (domestic and offshore) using a broad range of investment styles and strategies and targeting a broad range of asset classes, including securities (equity, debt, convertibles, asset-backed securities (ABS), mortgage-backed securities (MBS), commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS)), loans, futures and derivatives, physical commodities, aircraft, tax liens, movies, life settlements, volatility and other asset classes; 
  • Public and private commodity pools; 
  • Public and private registered investment companies; 
  • Funds of funds; 
  • Private equity and hedge fund feeder funds and feeder fund platforms; 
  • Special purpose or single investment funds; 
  • Fund restructurings and workouts; 
  • Seed capital transactions; 
  • Secondary market transactions in interests in private investment funds; 
  • Regulation of investment advisers, commodity pool operators, commodity trading advisors and investment companies; 
  • Spin-outs and lift outs; 
  • Compensation plans; 
  • Organization and re-organization of closely-held investment management businesses, including the negotiation and drafting of organizational documents addressing economic sharing arrangements, management and control, and succession issues; 
  • Mergers and acquisitions of investment management businesses, including change-in-control transactions and acquisitions of minority interest; and 
  • Joint ventures between investment management businesses. 

Jim was involved in the successful development and launch of the first commodity pool to be listed on a securities exchange in the United States and continues to work on innovative exchange-traded funds (ETFs). 

Jim is part of Sidley’s Investment Funds, Advisers and Derivatives practice team that has won numerous top awards as a provider of legal services to the private funds industry: two-time winner of Chambers and Partners’ “Investment Funds Team of the Year for the U.S.”; Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine’s 2014 Alpha Awards top “onshore” (U.S.) law firm serving the hedge fund industry; four-time recipient of first-tier national rankings in the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings for Private Funds/Hedge Funds Law, and Derivatives and Futures Law; and ranked in the top band for Hedge Funds by Chambers USA every year since 2008. Additionally, Jim is recognized in the 2013–2015 editions of The International Who’s Who of Private Funds and is recommended in The Legal 500 for mutual/registered funds and private equity funds. He is also a winner of an ETF Award, which highlights the outstanding performance and results achieved by corporate leaders. 

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, The ABCs of ETF Regulation and Enforcement, Sidley Austin LLP (June 2, 2016).
  • Panelist, Basics of Mutual Funds and Other Registered Investment Companies 2016, Practising Law Institute (April 2016).
  • Panelist, CFTC/Fund Issues, Sidley Austin LLP Seminar: Digital Currency Regulatory Issues (December 2015). 
  • Panelist, Basics of Mutual Funds and Other Registered Investment Companies 2015, Practising Law Institute (April 2015).
  • Panelist, Raising Capital for Hedge Funds – Seeding Arrangements, Wells Fargo Global Fund Services Alternative Asset Manager Summit (October 2014).
  • Presenter, Private Funds 2014: Developments and Opportunities - Sidley Austin LLP Program (September 2014).
  • Panelist, Fact Versus Fiction: Demystifying Liquid Alternatives, Managed Funds Association (MFA) Investor Relations and Business Development Forum (June 2014).
  • Panelist, Basics of Mutual Funds and Other Registered Investment Companies 2014, Practising Law Institute (April 2014).
  • Panelist, “The Volcker Rule: Next Steps,” Sidley Austin LLP (January 2014).
  • Panelist, Seeding Arrangements/Investment Manager Acquisitions, Private Funds 2013: Developments and Opportunities - Sidley Austin LLP Program (September 2013).
  • Panelist, Basics of Mutual Funds and Other Registered Investment Companies 2013, Practising Law Institute (April 2013).
  • Panelist, Fundamentals of Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds, Practising Law Institute (June 2012).
  • Panelist, Fundamentals of Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds, Practising Law Institute (June 2011).
  • “DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund: An Innovative Exchange-Traded Fund,” Futures Magazine, September 2006 (with Michael Schmidtberger and Michael Sackheim).
  • “Four Critical Issues Affecting Public Commodity Pools and Derivative Transactions under Proposed Regulations Implementing the Volcker Rule,” Futures and Derivatives Law Report, June 2012 (with William Eckland and Michael Sackheim).
Memberships & Activities

Jim is a member of the New York City Bar Association and served on the Committee on Futures and Derivatives Regulation from 2009–2012 and as the chairman of the CPO/CTA Subcommittee from 2010–2012. Additionally in the New York City Bar Association, Jim served as a member of the Committee on Investment Management Regulation from 2012–2015.

News & Achievements