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Estates attorney contributes to Cleveland arts scene
Steve Gariepy ’77 is at the peak of his game both in estate planning and on the Cleveland arts scene.
Though retirement is far off, his many creative pursuits ward off any fear of finding ways to keep busy when the time comes.
“You always wonder when you retire what you may do. But for me, I have more than enough interests that will fill up the time easily,” said Gariepy, a partner at Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP and co-chair of the firm’s estate planning and business succession group.
One need not look further than Cleveland’s art scene to find where he spends most of his time outside of work.
Gariepy is on the boards of trustees for the Great Lakes Theater and the Cleveland International Piano Competition, and he is heavily involved with the Cleveland Museum of Art, for which he has chaired the planned giving council and continues on its executive committee.
“I’ve been lucky to strike a balance of work I enjoy but still make time for outside interests that can offer a lot of pleasure and fulfillment,” he said.
In addition to these affiliations, Gariepy is also an avid photographer, a hobby he picked up from his dad as a child. He regularly incorporates photos from his worldwide travels – such as to Patagonia, Morocco, Africa, and Asia – in professional presentations and journal articles.
“I use the photographs in relevant ways to illustrate concepts and make them more memorable and entertaining,” he said. “It’s come to the point where now when I go on a trip I’m actually thinking, ‘How can I work this into an upcoming presentation?’ ”
Gariepy also collaborated with a friend to produce a musical. Gariepy tackled the writing part of the performance, titled Mim, which centered on the love story of the biblical figures Mary and Joseph.
“The original account (in the bible) is only about one paragraph of information, so there’s a lot of room for literary license,” he said. Gariepy gave Mary a comical younger sister and Joseph a somewhat revolutionary best friend in his version of the story.
The show ran seasonally for six years in Cleveland, Akron, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, all of which Gariepy toured.
His legal expertise occasionally came in hand with the production as well, especially when he formed a nonprofit corporation that produced the musical.
“It’s not often when the writer not only can write the script but also can write the articles of incorporation,” he said. “With the actors’ union and so forth, having some legal experience helped at times with some of that.”
Make no mistake, though: Gariepy commits the bulk of his time to practicing estate planning at Hahn Loeser. He’s been named in The Best Lawyers in America for trusts and estates every year since 2005, and in 2011 became the first recipient of Best Lawyers in America’s Lawyer of the Year for Cleveland Trusts and Estates.
It’s the consistent challenges and budding personal relationships that never make him tire of his job, he said.
“On one hand it’s a very technical and challenging area of the law because it’s encompassing business law and tax law. It’s also a very personal area in the law in that you’re dealing with people and their families, assets and values,” he said.
As for juggling his commitment to the arts amid practicing full time, Gariepy said his outside interests have never created undue stress, but rather have been outlets for recharging the creative batteries.
“You get to meet people you wouldn’t meet in a typical day at the office. For me it’s been very satisfying. And I’m in no hurry to retire.”
This article was written by Sarah Pfledderer.