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W. Roger Fry, lawyer who loved nature and carvings, dead at 77

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2017/05/05/w-roger-fry-lawyer-who-loved-nature-and-carvings-dead-77/101291172/ W. Roger Fry liked to recall events in Music Hall when the old Hook & Hastings pipe organ was still in use. The conversation would often turn to his great-great-grandfather, Henry L. Fry and his son William H., who designed and carved, with help from their wood-carving students, the great screen that surrounded the organ. “The native black walnut, darkened with lamp black and oiled with linseed oil, was carved with life-like birds, flowers and acanthus leaves that can be seen on so much of their work. William’s daughter, Laura A. Fry, also an accomplished carver, worked on the screen, as well,” Mr. Fry told The Enquirer last May, as the hall closed for renovation. Mr. Fry did much to preserve a legacy that belongs as much to Cincinnati as to his own family. His and his wife Pat’s collection of Fry-carved furniture is the largest private collection of such furniture in existence, rivaled only by that at Cincinnati Art Museum. Mr. Fry died on May 2 at his Indian Hill home after a battle with ocular melanoma, a rare and aggressive cancer that his family says he fought until the end. He was 77. For more than 50 years, Mr. Fry practiced law at Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis, a firm co-founded by his father, William Fry. He started as a law clerk while taking night classes at Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law, from which he graduated first in his class.  He was revered by his colleagues, said John Cobey, who recently told his friend that he had “not only built an institution based on professionalism, but you also built friends who respect and cherish you.” Outside of the office, Mr. Fry and his wife were passionate and devoted ambassadors for Cincinnati’s rich artistic past, said Amy Dehan, curator of decorative arts and design at Cincinnati Art Museum. “He knew and appreciated the importance of Cincinnati as an art center long before many did,” Dehan said. “Over the years, he and Pat generously funded Cincinnati-related research initiatives and art acquisitions at the museum. With some frequency, they graciously agreed to host collectors, scholars and other museum constituents for visits to their home to view their extensive collections of Cincinnati art-carved furniture, Cincinnati paintings and Native American art.” Mr. Fry spent decades finding, collecting and preserving the unique furniture carved by his forbearers, resulting in the finest and largest private collection of its kind. He shared both his research and his artworks, and happily lent them to institutions for exhibition, Dehan said. His passion for collecting art took him to far-flung corners of the globe, where he befriended everyone from cowboy artists to Alaskan Eskimos. For a special exhibition at Cincinnati Art Museum in 2007-08 entitled, “The Lure of the Arctic: Eskimo and Inuit Artifacts,” the couple provided more than 200 artifacts from their collection, including an authentic kayak and an Eskimo umiak (open boat). Mr. Fry’s love of nature took him on numerous scientific expeditions with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. As a result of his participation in collecting data about threatened penguin species on Isla Noir (Black Island) off the coast of Chile, the Chilean government recently agreed to protect those environments needed for the penguins to survive. “Clearly he was one of the kindest, most generous and lovely guys I ever knew,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard. “For the past three decades, he had been directly involved in expeditions for the Zoo from Alaska all the way down to the coast of South America. He worked with our animal staff to research, conserve and even collect endangered birds.” Wildlife artist John Ruthven accompanied his friend of 50 years on many expeditions and recalled their search for the rare ivory-billed woodpecker. “Here is one of Cincinnati’s finest attorneys down in the cypress swamps of southern Alabama along the Choctawhatchee River searching for this rare bird. Not only was Roger great at his profession, but he was a wonderful naturalist,” Ruthven said. “We didn’t find the bird but we added a lot to its history.” A longtime council member for the Village of Indian Hill, Mr. Fry and fellow council members rescued a Camp Dennison gravel mine from development, turning it instead into a multi-lake park known as Grand Valley. An ardent supporter of maintaining Indian Hill’s rural character, he also helped to establish Rheinstrom Park. Family members remarked that in everything he did, Mr. Fry took the time to learn and master, and he did it all with a wonderful sense of humor. “He was such an inspiration, and he was always there. I feel like he was one of my best friends,” said his son, William. In addition to his wife of 53 years, Patricia K. Fry, Mr. Fry is survived by three sons, Ted, of Milford; Addison, of Madeira; and William, of Terrace Park; two sisters, Linda Mallett of North Carolina and Allison Montgomery of Charlottesville, Virginia; and six grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati OH 45220; Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202; Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati OH 45203, Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 or Stepping Stones Learning Center. Visitation and memorial service, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Remembrance 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.), Wednesday, May 10, Thomas-Justin Memorial Funeral Home, 7500 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45236.

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Roger Fry Receives John P. Kiely Professionalism Award

W. Roger Fry, an attorney who has been with Rendigs for 54 years, was honored by the Cincinnati Bar Association at their Annual Meeting on April 29, 2016.  Roger received the John P. Kiely Professionalism Award which recognized “his reputation of professionalism and commitment to his clients and his practice” (CBA Annual Meeting Program). Per the CBA website, this award is given to “a trial lawyer for possessing outstanding trial skills and demonstrating the highest degree of professionalism, civility and ethical standards in his or her daily practice.” The award is named after Rendigs Partner John P. Kiely who was widely lauded for his ethical approach to the practice of law. Roger delivered a sincere acceptance speech which touched on John P. Kiely’s professional life at Rendigs and thanked the firm and the greater Bar community for their support.  Two tables of Roger’s friends and family joined to celebrate him at the luncheon. We are honored to practice alongside Roger and are proud of the award that he has received.   

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In For A Penny, In For A Pound

  Does your business hire labor through staffing agencies or subcontractors? Do you share workers with another company? If so, new interpretive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) Wage & Hour Division suggests you should pay careful attention to those shared workers and their hours, as your business could be responsible for more of their wages than you might expect. Read More – March 2016 – Joint Employment Interpretations

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Roger Fry to Receive CBA Professionalism Award

Rendigs attorney W. Roger Fry will receive the John P. Kiely Professionalism Award during the Cincinnati Bar Association Annual Meeting on April 29, 2016. Per the CBA website, this award “recognizes a trial lawyer for possessing outstanding trial skills and demonstrating the highest degree of professionalism, civility and ethical standards in his or her daily practice.” The award is named after Rendigs Partner John P. Kiely who was widely lauded for his ethical approach to the practice of law. Roger has been with Rendigs for 54 years.  His practice focuses on litigation, with an emphasis on construction, commercial law, and insurance coverage. He also has substantial experience in art and tribal art law, firearms litigation, fire litigation, and class action litigation. Roger is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is also a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel.

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2016 John P. Kiely Professionalism Award

The Cincinnati Bar Association is now accepting nominations for the 2016 John P. Kiely award.  Per the CBA, “This award recognizes a trial lawyer for possessing outstanding trial skills and demonstrating the highest degree of professionalism, civility, and ethical standards in his or her daily practice.”  This award is named after Rendigs named Partner John P. Kiely who strongly exuded these characteristics to the legal community during his tenure. To nominate someone please contact Maria Palermo by January 29, 2016 at (513) 699-1402.

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W. Roger Fry Honored by CBA

Rendigs and the Cincinnati Bar Association are recognizing W. Roger Fry at the 2015 Senior Counselor’s Luncheon.  This celebration which honors CBA members who have turned 75 or have been in practice for 50 years, is being held on October 21, 2015 at noon in the Hall of Mirrors in Downtown Cincinnati. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.cincybar.org.

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If they can’t pay, sue everyone!

One of the main reasons business owners form an LLC or incorporate is to shield themselves from personal liability for company debts. To justify the notion of limited liability for owners, corporations and limited liability companies have long been considered fictitious legal entities that are separate and apart from their owners. However, if a litigious claimant convinces a court that the owner is merely the alter ego of the company, the owner of a corporation or LLC can be held personally liable for company debts. Read More – August 2015 Legal Update

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Mike Foley Elected to ABOTA Membership

Rendigs congratulates Partner Michael P. Foley on his recent election to membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Membership in ABOTA is by invitation only and is limited to attorneys who have completed at least 20 civil jury trials to jury verdict or hung jury as lead counsel.  Further, ABOTA-initiated attorneys must possess “high personal character and honorable reputation” per the ABOTA Constitution and Bylaws.  Mike joins an elite group of just 85 attorneys in the Ohio chapter. Rendigs is unique amongst Ohio law firms in that four of our 30 attorneys are ABOTA members: Mike Foley, W. Roger Fry, Thomas M. Evans, David Winchester Peck. Per the ABOTA website, the mission of ABOTA is defined as: The general purposes of this Association shall be to foster improvement in the ethical and technical standards of practice in the field of advocacy to the end that individual litigants may receive more effective representation and the general public be benefited by more efficient administration of justice consistent with time-tested and traditional principles of litigation. For more information about Mike Foley and his practice, visit his profile page at www.rendigs.com.

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U.S. economy growing steadily, but small banks are at risk

If Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen called Stephen Wilson and asked his advice on monetary policy, he’d tell her to raise interest rates a quarter percent. Business owners are flush with cash, but they are still uncertain about the economy, the Lebanon-based LCNB Corp. chairman and CEO told the Bolder Business group on May 20. If entrepreneurs thought interest rates were on the way up, though, they’d get motivated. “We’ve got all kinds of pent-up demand on loans,” said Wilson, who addressed 25 business owners and leaders at a Firehouse Grill luncheon in Blue Ash. “Business owners are waiting. They don’t want to make a move if they think interest rates are stable. But if they think they’re on the way up, they’ll move.” Wilson, who served for eight years as a board member with the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland and is former chairman of the American Bankers Association, loves monetary policy. And using economic statistics from both agencies, he provided attendees with information on the state of the U.S. economy. While the economy is growing steadily and is still the healthiest in the world, we still have some problem areas, he told the group. Two problems are the national debt and the Federal Reserve balance sheet. “The Fed has put a lot of money into junk bonds and has to unwind that to keep the economy moving,” he said. Personal spending is the largest part the economy today, and it is driven by consumer confidence, he said. It has gone up steadily since 2014, and speaks well for the U.S. economy if confidence remains high. But he said he thinks housing growth and prices and are not sustainable. “Housing starts drive employment, but we lost 8.7 million jobs during the recession,” he said. “We’ve recovered 11 million, but the problem is there a lot more people in the workforce now.” He also said the national 5.7 percent unemployment rate from January of 2015 is inaccurate, because new rules with the Bureau of Labor Statistics don’t count people out of work for six months or longer. If joblessness were determined under pre-recession rules, he said, the U.S. would have an 11.3 percent unemployment rate. The good news, though, is that unemployment is still lower than many European countries. Another area of concern for business owners is excessive regulation. Wilson said the Consumer Protection Bureau has added regulations to the already-regulated side of the banking industry, which harms consumers more than protects them. The effect is that excessive regulation squeezes small banks with small staffs, which forces banks across the nation to close or merge into larger banks, said Wilson.  More than 50 small banks in Ohio have closed since 2007, according to the American Bankers Association. “I would submit to you that is it a travesty,” said Wilson. “It is moving economic power from rural to urban areas and we will end up with fewer banks in rural areas… the consolidation is real and it is significant.” Wilson predicted that small banks would continue to struggle until interest rates rise. Bolder Business is a group of business owners and leaders who meet the third Wednesday of each month. The May event was sponsored by Edoc Service and Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis, LLP. Bolder Business events are listed on Eventbrite. For more information about the Bolder Business organization or to attend an event, contact Jim Mullaney of Edoc Service at jim@edocservice.com or call (513) 829-7101.

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