Rodney L. Abstone II, JD, MA

Chief Strategy & Mergers and Acquisitions Officer
DEI Legal Recruiting Strategist | Majority Shareholder
President, Board of Directors


Mr. Abstone focuses his representation primarily on law firm partners, practice groups and mergers. Additionally, he represents Executive Directors, Administrators, Chief Executive Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Legal Officers, General Counsels, Board of Directors, and other senior-level management within international, national, and local law firms, Fortune 500 publicly and privately-held corporations. Mr. Abstone also consults with European and North America law firms on expansion into the South America market. He is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Armação dos Búzios (Rio de Janeiro), Brazil; and Chicago, IL. 

Mr. Abstone’s expertise also extends to diversity recruiting and retention, succession planning, and career counseling. A frequent speaker at local universities, national conferences and other events, Mr. Abstone is often recognized by high-profile attorneys and other legal executives throughout the country for his keen knowledge of the national legal market.

In 2020, Mr. Abstone was selected as one of LawDragon’s Global 100 Leaders in legal strategy and consulting. A nationally-recognized expert on diversity recruiting and retention in law firms, Mr. Abstone is a frequent speaker on the subject. He was invited to take part in a discussion on law firm diversity as part of a panel of African-American managing partners, and has also acted as a consultant to one of the world’s largest law firms on diversity recruiting, retention, and image. Mr. Abstone has published industry-related articles in several national publications and is a regular contributor to The National Law Journal and The American Lawyer, The National Law Review and Recruiting Trends.
Mr. Abstone is a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and serves on the Board of Directors for several Chicago philanthropic and social service organizations that focus on HIV/AIDS, adolescent homelessness, LGBT issues, and the fine arts.
Mr. Abstone holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, both from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. He earned his Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California and a Master of Arts degree in journalism from Butler University.

“Whenever you need to know what’s available to you as a possible next step in your career as a partner in a law firm, Rodney will provide excellent advise and give you an in depth personal survey of the marketplace. His services don’t stop there. Rodney will be there with you until he finds a perfect fit for you and your clients. You won’t be disappointed!”

Stephen H. Pugh
Shareholder, Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. & President, Pugh, Jones & Johnson, P.C.

“It is with pleasure that I write this endorsement for the professional services of Rodney L. Abstone-Carabajal and his firm AbstoneLalley. Rodney represented me in my pursuit of new professional opportunities. He worked diligently to comprehend my experiences, interests, and plans. Rodney was innovative in developing an effective marketing strategy and utilized his expansive network to promote my candidacy. He was very knowledgeable about the organizations and the industry I was targeting and provided sound strategic advice. Throughout the search process, Rodney maintained a direct and timely level of communication, demonstrating a strong personal and professional interest in assisting me in my plans, while also respectfully managing those of the other parties with which he was engaged. Rodney is a consummate professional, and a person that I highly recommend to those with career interests in the legal industry.”

Thomas Gaughan, Fmr. Chief Operating and Financial Officer
Baker & McKenzie LLP

“I enthusiastically endorse Rodney Abstone’s firm, AbstoneLalley, Inc., for its particular expertise in law firm merger consulting. Rodney worked with my firm to create a merger with another law firm. When Rodney and I first met, my firm was not looking for a merger partner. However, after multiple discussions with Rodney and his colleagues, we decided to strongly consider the opportunity. Working with Rodney and his team was a great experience. He consulted with us about the other firm, worked with both firms in arranging critical meetings, encouraged us to think about the big picture and see the potential success that could result from a merger. His advice and guidance throughout the entire process was critical to moving the discussions forward. Rodney is a no-nonsense person, but one who you enjoy being around. So even when there were hard decisions to make, Rodney was there with the right questions and answers. Rodney made it clear that our concerns were his concerns, and despite whether we would close the deal or not, he had our best interests at heart. With his guidance, my firm was able to successfully complete the merger deal. In working so closely with Rodney throughout this process, he not only served as an exceptional consultant for my firm, he also became a dear friend. I eagerly refer others to Rodney and his firm for his professional expertise.”

Eileen M. Letts, Equity Partner
Zuber Lawler & Del Duca

“Our working group, which includes both transactional and litigation concentration, recently had the pleasure of working with Rodney when we elected to seek a new platform for our practice. Although we had been well-situated in a highly respected firm, we sought to transition into a firm with greater resources and a global footprint. Rodney’s extensive personal connections and highly regarded profile among the vanguard of highly respected firm managing partners and lateral coordinators was a key factor in our good fortune of receiving multiple offers from those ranks. Rodney’s well-deserved reputation among elite firms is balanced by his seasoned experience. His advice and guidance was strongly beneficial in the process of identifying the best fit for us and establishing mutually satisfactory arrangements which have already boosted both the range and depth of our practice. Rodney’s diplomatic, straightforward performance is impressively bolstered by his dedication and accessibility. Just as we had been assured would be the case by others who had previously worked with Rodney, we were made to feel that our project was Rodney’s top priority. We were nothing short of amazed at the rapid pace in which he proceeded to smoothly handle all aspects of his responsibilities. Summing up our opinion of Rodney in two words is easy: Utterly topnotch.”

Litigation Practice Group Partners
Nixon Peabody LLP

Law firm mergers and acquisitions; partners and practice groups; C-level recruiting; diversity recruiting and retention; law firm succession and strategic planning
ForbesBLK 2023, Lawdragon "Global 100 Leaders in Legal Strategy & Consulting 2020;" The National Law Journal & The American Lawyer guest contributor
Alma Mater
Pepperdine University School of Law (JD), Butler University (MA, BS, BA)
In his spare time
Cooking; entertaining; traveling abroad; playing the viola; and collecting original art from local artists around the world