Dirk M. Bedarff, practitioner of municipal law for 30 years, dies at 58

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Dirk M. Bedarff, who practiced municipal law for 30 years and was a fixture in the Kentucky and Ohio public finance worlds, died last month at 58.

Bedarff passed away on Feb. 28, according to Dinsmore, where he was a partner.

Bedarff joined Dinsmore & Shohl in 2014 when Peck Shaffer & Williams, a firm that limited its practice to public finance, merged with Dinsmore, the firm said. He split his time between the firm’s Covington, Kentucky and Denver, Colorado offices. Bedarff who worked for Deutsche Bank for five years before starting his career in municipal finance, became a nationally respected public finance expert.

While at Peck Shaffer, he served as managing partner for several years. Among his accomplishments in public finance, he designed and was counsel last year to the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District’s commercial paper program, which received national attention. In 2017, Dirk was named Lawyer of the Year in Cincinnati for public finance to go along with a career’s worth of awards and acknowledgements. What truly set Bedarff apart as an attorney was his devotion to his clients and a no-nonsense commitment to his craft, colleagues said.

“He was a very thorough attorney who had an excellent understanding of the financial goals that clients were trying to achieve,” said Dinsmore partner Roger Peterman, with whom Bedarff practiced for the bulk of his career. “He knew the numbers and how to apply the law to get the results that clients needed. He was very creative and brought a lot of value to every transaction he worked on.”

Bedarff was much more than an excellent attorney to his clients. He was also an excellent person to those around him.

“He really cared about the members of the firm,” said Dinsmore partner Mary Groves, who worked with Dirk in Denver for 14 years. “In 2008, when the big financial downturn happened, Dirk said, ‘We’re not firing any lawyers. They’re our biggest assets.’ And we didn’t fire any attorneys. We all had to take a pay cut, but he made sure everyone got paid back first before the partners.”

Away from the office, Bedarff was devoted to his daughter, Caroline, and husband, Robert. He was an avid traveler and outdoorsman who loved to hike, bike, ski and climb. He was born a German citizen, grew up in Beirut, Baghdad and then Hong Kong, where he went to elementary school. He moved just outside of New York City, in Baldwin, for high school, then he attended the University of Denver as an undergrad, where he was a member of the prestigious DU ski team. After graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law and spending five years in Germany with Deutsche Bank, he settled in Kentucky.

Dirk truly never stopped traveling. Within the last year alone, he visited Vietnam, South Africa and various European destinations.

He will be missed and fondly remembered by his friends, family and colleagues at Dinsmore. Those interested may make a donation to the American Cancer Society in his name.

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