Stephen J. Knerly Jr.

Stephen J. Knerly Jr.


200 Public Square
Suite 2800
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

Primary Practices

Stephen J. Knerly, Jr. focuses his practice on matters involving art transactions, nonprofit corporate law, closely held and family-owned businesses and international commercial transactions.

Josh serves as Co-Chair of the Firm’s Non-Profit Institutions section.

In his art law practice, Josh has represented museums, foundations, trusts and collectors in the acquisition, disposition, lending and borrowing of and estate planning for works of art, including domestic and international transactions, claims and dispute resolution involving cultural property and the Nazi era.

Josh has been a frequent speaker on art-related matters before meetings of the ALI-CLE Museum Law Conference, the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the American Bar Association (Section of International Law), the Institute of Art and Law and the Federal Cultural Property Advisory Committee. Josh is a former adjunct professor of art law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He has been a guest lecturer at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, University of Akron School of Law, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and DePaul University College of Law.

Josh also represents nonprofit corporations, trusts, foundations and museums on formation issues, general business and corporate matters, governance issues, conflict of interest policies, accessions, deaccessions, contracting, outsource agreements, executive compensation and employment agreements, tax planning, international transactions and construction projects.

Josh counsels closely held and family businesses on various matters, including mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, financings, generation transfers and recapitalizations.

Professional History

  • Partner, Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP, 1984-present; CEO and Managing Partner, 1993-2008; Member, Board of Directors, 1993-2008; Member, Management Committee, 1989-91; Associate, 1976-83; Law Clerk, 1975-76


  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D., 1976
  • Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Boston, Massachusetts, A.M., 1973
  • Bowdoin College, A.B., History and French, summa cum laude, magna cum laude in historium, 1972
    • Honors & Activities: Cyrus Hoover History Prize; Phi Beta Kappa, Member; James Bowdoin Scholar
  • University School, 1968
    • Honors & Activities: Cum Laude Society, Member; Sherman French Prize
  • Hawken School, Lyndhurst, Ohio, 1964
Community Involvement

Former Consul Honoraire de France, Cleveland, Ohio


The Holden Arboretum, Director


French American Chamber of Commerce, Trustee and Secretary


The Cleveland Museum of Art, Assistant Secretary


Leadership Cleveland, Class of 2001

Awards & Distinctions

Chevalier of the Legion of Honor (France)


American Bar Foundation, Fellow


Society of Benchers, Case Western Reserve University School of Law


The Best Lawyers in America®, Non-Profit/Charities Law, 2007-24, Art Law, 2017-24, Closely Held Companies and Business Law, 2023-24, Cleveland Lawyer of the Year, Non-Profit/Charities Law, 2021


Chambers and Partners HNW Guide, Art and Cultural Property Law, 2021-24


Working Group, Reproduction of Art and Cultural Heritage (ReACH) Project

Bar Admissions

State of Ohio, 1976


U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit


District of Columbia Court of Appeals


U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

Memberships & Affiliations

International Council of Museums, Legal Committee, Past Member


International Bar Association, Art, Cultural Institutions and Heritage Law Committee, Member


American Bar Association, International Law Section, Art and Cultural Law Heritage Committee, Steering Committee


Institute of Art and Law, Member