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. This state's high court has spoken, the fair question is answered. Years ago the Seventh Circuit footnoted the following in the context of court access: "[2] Dr. Bowman's report specifically stated that Brown "firmly believes he is obligated as a Christian to put obedience to God's laws above human laws." Dr. Bowman further noted that Brown expressed "devaluing attitudes towards pharmacological or psycho-therapeutic mental health treatment" and that he made "sarcastic remarks devaluing authority of all types, especially mental health authority and the abortion industry." 668 F.3d 437 (2012) SUCH acid testing of statist orthodoxy is just and meet in Indiana. SUCH INQUISITIONS have been green lighted. Christians and conservatives beware.

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  5. Can anyone please tell me if anyone is appealing the law that certain sex offenders can't be on school property. How is somebody supposed to watch their children's sports games or graduations, this law needs revised such as sex offenders that are on school property must have another non-offender adult with them at all times while on school property. That they must go to the event and then leave directly afterwards. This is only going to hurt the children of the offenders and the father/ son mother/ daughter vice versa relationship. Please email me and let me know if there is a group that is appealing this for reasons other than voting and religion. Thank you.