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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. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  2. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  3. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  4. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  5. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

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