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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 antiquities 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.


  • 200 Public Square, Suite 2800
    Cleveland, OH 44114


  • French


  • Case Western Reserve University , J.D., graduated 1976
  • Bowdoin College, A.B., graduated 1972

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio, 1976
  • District of Columbia, Court of Appeals


  • American Bar Association, International Law Section, Art and Cultural Law Heritage Committee - Steering Committee
  • French American Chamber of Commerce - Trustee and Secretary
  • Institute of Art and Law - Member
  • International Bar Association, Art, Cultural Institutions and Heritage Law Committee - Member
  • The Holden Arboretum - Director

Court Admissions

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

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2021 - Nonprofit / Charities Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2013 - Nonprofit / Charities Law

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Nonprofit / Charities Law, Cleveland (2021)
  • Nonprofit / Charities Law, Cleveland (2013)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023 for work in:

  • Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law
  • Nonprofit / Charities Law
  • Art Law

Special Focus

  • Charitable Gift Planning
  • Defendants
  • Museums
  • Private Foundations
  • Tax-Exempt Organizations


  • 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, 2007-22, Art Law, 2017-22, Cleveland Lawyer of the Year, Non-Profit/Charities Law, 2021
  • Working Group, Reproduction of Art and Cultural Heritage (ReACH) Project
  • Chambers and Partners HNW Guide, Art and Cultural Property Law, 2021

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