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Leadership in Law 2013: J. Joseph Tanner

Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Indianapolis Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

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joe-tanner02-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

J. Joseph Tanner is recognized as a tactical leader in product liability litigation, having successfully served as counsel for companies in diverse industries. He represents regional and global manufacturers in state, federal and appellate courts throughout the U.S. and Canada and handles numerous international disputes and arbitrations in Canada, China and Europe. After a firm merger in 2012, Joe was chosen to lead the new Faegre Baker Daniels LLP product liability and environmental group comprised of more than 90 professionals in seven offices. He’s active in his community in organizations such as Zionsville Youth Soccer Association and the Zionsville Rotary Club.

Your practice takes you around the world. Where’s your favorite place to visit and why? 
My favorite place to travel for a case has been Sweden – great people and great food. 

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
Teach high school and coach basketball.

What class in law school did you find the most difficult? 
Tax and secured transactions. That is why I am a product liability lawyer.

What civic cause is the most important to you? 
Youth sports organizations like our local soccer association and boys and girls clubs. Also, the mission of the International Center of Indianapolis is important to our community.

If you could go back in time, “when” would you go to and what would you do? 
To the time when our framers where debating the Constitution to see if our country today is what they had in mind.

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
The huge volume can be challenging. 12/5 would be perfect.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Thank your parents more and follow the same path. It’s been a great one for me. 

Numerous TV shows center around lawyers and their practices. Are any of them close to realistic? 
Some are good for entertainment, but I am not sure they accurately reflect my day-to-day professional life. 

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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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