Author: GBGR

Lauren Fitte

Welcome Baby Zella to the GBGR Family!

Please help us welcome the newest member of the GBGR family! Zella Price was born March 28, weighing in at 8 lbs. 6 oz. We are overjoyed for her mom, partner Lauren Fitte, who says she and precious Zella are both happy and healthy. Welcome to the family!

Lauren Fitte

Lauren Fitte Promoted to Partner

We are very pleased to announce that Lauren Fitte has accepted the firm’s offer to become a Partner in the partnership of Giordani Baker Grossman & Ripp LLP. Lauren has practiced at the firm since 2017 and will be an excellent addition to the firm’s partnership team.

Ms. Fitte is an accomplished attorney whose practice revolves primarily around the design, implementation, and administration of domestic and international estate, trust, and business plans and the associated federal income, estate, and gift tax implications applicable to our multi-jurisdictional clients. In addition to her niche international trust and estate practice, Lauren also advises with regard to traditional domestic estate planning, probate, and estate administration matters. Lauren has published several articles on international estate planning and taxation, and she is a contributing editor to the four-volume treatise, Asset Protection: Domestic and International Law and Tactics, published by Thomson/West group.  Lauren is also a certified mediator.

Lauren graduated from The University of Texas School of Law in 2013, where she served as a Staff Editor for the Texas International Law Journal. She received her B.A. in English from Rice University in 2008.

We are delighted to welcome Lauren as the firm’s newest partner and look forward to her continued commitment to providing our clients the highest quality legal services.

Bob Chesner Featured in Two Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) Podcasts

GBGR’s very own Bob Chesner (Senior Director and COO) was recently featured on TWO podcasts: The Life Product review with host Bobby Samuelson and Requisite Capital Management Series with hosts Doug John and Bryn Talkington. These interviews on both podcasts showcase Bob’s extensive knowledge on Private Placement Life Insurance. We are happy that Bob was given such an opportunity and thrilled to share his expertise with the rest of the GBGR community. Special thank you to Bobby Samuelson, Doug John, and Bryn Talkington for the opportunities.

Podcast1: The Life Product Review with Host, Bobby Samuelson

“An interview with Bob Chesner, Senior Director and COO at Giordani Baker Grossman & Ripp LLP on the past, present and future of private placement life insurance.  This Podcast takes an in-depth look at PPLI, the costs, the investment benefits, challenges, and the bright future.”

Podcast2: Requisite Capital Management Podcast Series with hosts Doug John and Bryn Talkington

“An interview with Bob Chesner, Senior Director and COO at Giordani Baker Grossman & Ripp LLP discussing a really interesting investment structure that most people don’t even know exist. When Doug and Bryn talk to clients, the one consistent comment the hear is the inevitability that taxes are going higher. Enter Private Placement Life Insurance. Private Placement Life insurance (or PPLI) is an investment structure that allows after tax dollar to grow tax free. With the election around the corner and taxes most likely at the forefront of the discussion, we wanted to introduce and beginthe education process around PPLI.”

Changes to Our Firm in 2020: GSR Becomes GBGR

The new decade ushers in a new era for our law firm. As we say a very difficult good-bye to our long-serving partner and friend, Derry Swanger, who is joining a smaller practice to gain lifestyle flexibility, partners Cindy Grossman and Steven Baker will join their partners, Leslie Giordani and Michael Ripp, in the firm’s name. Accordingly, Giordani Swanger Ripp LLP (“GSR”) will move forward effective March 1, 2020 as Giordani Baker Grossman & Ripp LLP (“GBGR”). The practice areas and services of GBGR remain identical to those of GSR. We eagerly look forward to the coming decade and beyond to continuing our representation of our national and international clientele, by offering a broad but focused suite of private client services with a foundation in tax and estate planning. For more information, please see our formal announcement here.

Supporting Families Around the U.S.

GSRJ is proud and enduring supporter of the Austin community – but world events often compel us to reach beyond our borders and extend a helping hand to families navigating situations far beyond their control. That is why we have become a proud supported of the Autism Hope Alliance, an organization that embodies hope for families facing an autism diagnosis. AHA provides education, support and financial assistance to families facing the challenges of autism.

Did you know that 1 in 59 children in the United States is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder? Or that the diagnosis costs caregivers an extra $60,000 per year through childhood. Moreover, mothers of children with ASD earn 56% less than mothers of children without health limitations. Families need help and AHA provides that; to date, the Autism Hope Alliance has helped more than 55,000 families and provided more than $2 million in assistance.

The organization has recently launched its Support Autism Hope campaign in collaboration with Tony Robbins. He will match every dollar donated to the AHA to ensure families around the country can get the support they need while living with autism. Learn more and donate today!


GSRJ Says Goodbye to Peggy Ugent

With a mixture of fondness and heavy hearts, we recently sad goodbye to Peggy Ugent, who retired in April after nearly 12 years with the firm. As GSRJ’s Director of Tax and Accounting, Peggy used her extensive expertise and background in U.S tax matters to counsel firm attorneys on income and transfer tax considerations with regard to proposed business transactions, choice of entity structure, and investment in pass-through entities. She has not disappeared from the industry completely, though; as the current chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Trust, Estate and Gift Tax Technical Resource Panel, she continues to share her deep knowledge of complex domestic and international tax issues.

Chesner Makes Second Appearance at Tony Robbins’ Platinum Partnership

On Saturday, February 24th, COO and Finance Director Bob Chesner once again presented at Tony Robbins’ Platinum Partnership event, held this year in Sun Valley, Idaho. Bob’s presentation highlighted the power of private placement life insurance in creating abundant tax-free retirement income. We’re thrilled that Bob was once again extended the incredible opportunity to share his passion among such distinguished company.

Welcoming Therese Gansle to the GSRJ Family!

We are excited to welcome Therese Gansle to our team as GSRJ’s newest legal assistant. Therese brings more than 20 years of legal and paralegal experience, having worked for prestigious firms in both Austin and Washington, D.C. In her role with the firm, she will support partners Derry Swanger, Amy Jetel, and Steven Baker, and associate Lauren Fitte. She will also play an important role in helping conceive and plan the firm’s social functions. Please join us in welcoming Therese to the team!



Lauren Fitte

GSRJ Associate Lauren Fitte Named Texas Rising Star

For the first time ever, GSRJ associate Lauren Fitte has been selected for inclusion in the 2018 Texas Super Lawyers Rising Stars list! Lauren has been with GSRJ since early 2017. She specializes in designing tax-efficient structures for U.S. and non-U.S. families and advises with regard to both inbound and outbound investment planning, inheritance planning, asset protection, tax compliance matters, international trust and estate planning, and pre-immigration planning. Ms. Fitte is a certified mediator who has published several articles on international estate planning and taxation. She is also a contributing editor to the four-volume treatise Asset Protection: Domestic and International Law and Tactics, published by Thomson/West group and updated quarterly.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. No more than 2.5% of up-and-coming lawyers in Texas are named to Rising Stars, as determined by Thomson Reuters.

Welcome J. Ross Buchholtz, CPA, to GSRJ!

We are excited to announce the addition of J. Ross Buchholtz, CPA, to our practice. Ross joins GSRJ after 25+ years of tax and accounting experience, including four years at the helm of his own private accounting firm. In his role as Director, Ross leads the firm’s U.S. tax and related compliance work with clients and attorneys on income and transfer tax matters. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Texas Society of CPAs.