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1909-2019 | Celebrating Our 110th Anniversary: A Conversation with Jeff Buppert

Can you tell us about your background with the firm and how your role has evolved over the years?

I worked for many years at a “boutique” firm in Los Angeles but, for personal reasons, moved to Cincinnati in 2000 and was recruited by a bank that desperately needed help getting their trust department in order. I hated it! After 9/11 happened, I decided to move back to LA and was fortunate to be offered a job with my old firm, as well as two much larger firms. I chose Loeb. 

I joined the Trusts and Estates Department (T&E) at Loeb at the beginning of 2002 and handled both estate planning and estate administration matters, which basically means I helped make sure everything was in order before our clients died, and the stuff that happens after they died was in order too. Now I spend most of my time on post-death matters, and while part of me misses the writing and drafting of estate planning, I love helping our clients through the difficult times after their loved ones are gone. Death and dying affects all of us, but not everyone is comfortable talking about it, so I’m glad I can be here for them. 

I’m also involved in training new paralegals and associates about probates and trust accountings and estate tax returns, which I enjoy too.

What case, project or initiative have you been most proud to be a part of at Loeb?

Two things immediately come to mind. First, in T&E most of our work is private and confidential, the occasional high-profile will or trust contest notwithstanding. That said, I have had the privilege of being associated with some of the most generous and philanthropic people imaginable—names that may not be widely recognizable—leaving hundreds of millions of dollars to charity. Anonymously! Others paying for their housekeeper’s child’s college or funding their late brother’s alma mater. It reminds you of the inherent goodness in people, and it renews your faith in your fellow man (and woman!).

Second, I’m extremely proud to be a part of our T&E group because they recognize the personal side of what we do—of being compassionate human beings as well as incredibly skilled legal advisers. Many of our clients are grieving, and it’s important for us to know when to push them to provide information and when it’s more important for us to say, “There is nothing you need to do right now but take care of yourself. Take time to grieve and to adjust to your loss, and we can talk again in a few weeks.” Grief won’t disappear in a couple of weeks, of course, but hearing your legal advisers tell you that it’s OK to grieve is invaluable, and the people in my department—from the assistants to the paralegals to the partners—never lose sight of that detail. 

How has your time at the firm helped you grow, either professionally or personally?

When I was in college back in Georgia, I worked as a butler for the governor. Two governors actually. It was an amazing experience, and I learned so many things, from knowing when to be formal and proper to when to be relaxed and silly, how to keep the governor and his family’s business private, and how not to be starstruck by heads of state and business leaders and celebrities. The list goes on and on. I’ve used all of that at Loeb, and in the process, I’ve come to realize that those qualities I learned so long ago are part of me now. Working at Loeb is part of me now too. I’m surrounded by the most brilliant minds in my chosen profession, who inspire me every day and make me better at what I do.

What are some of your favorites aspects of the firm that have kept you here all these years?

Clearly, it’s all the free leftovers from Clementine’s (which will mean nothing to anyone outside of the LA office!).  As cliché as it sounds, and as I’ve alluded to above, it’s the people. And NOT just in my department. When you spend as much of your day at work as we all do—whether it’s getting to and from the office or being in the office—life is too short to be doing something you don’t enjoy with people you don’t enjoy doing it with. I can come into work angry and frustrated at all the traffic or at all the people texting and driving, but as soon as I get into the building and the elevator doors open onto my floor, it somehow always gets better. It’s been 18 years now that those elevator doors have been opening, and I can honestly say I have never once regretted my decision to join Loeb.