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Leadership in Law 2013: Larry J. Stroble

Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Indianapolis Indiana University Maurer School of Law

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larry-stroble01-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Larry J. Stroble is well known and respected statewide for his Indiana and federal tax expertise and accomplishments. A successful federal tax litigator, Larry argued and won a case before the Supreme Court of the United States that had more than $300 million of taxes at stake nationwide. His knowledge has made him a valuable resource not only within his firm, but for the Indiana and Indianapolis chambers of commerce and many other employer-based organizations. He is a highly regarded mentor to young attorneys, not just those who aspire to practice tax law. Larry also works on a pro bono basis drafting tax legislation, testifying at legislative hearings on the state’s tax system, and he has served as a member and chair of the Indiana Tax Court Liaison Committee.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose? 
Investigative reporter. 

If you could meet and spend a day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why? 
Clarence Darrow, because he would have some interesting tales to tell (Wobblies, Debs, Leopold and Loeb, Scopes, etc.). 

What class in law school did you find the most difficult? 
Antitrust.

Numerous TV shows center around lawyers and their practices. Are any of them close to realistic?
Very rarely. Surprisingly, I thought that “My Cousin Vinny” had a somewhat realistic depiction of certain aspects of trial practice.

What’s the most important thing your mentor has taught you? 
Stop and smell the roses. I wish I had listened to him.  

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Party hearty, but be in bed when the rooster crows. 

If you could go back in time, “when” would you go to and what would you do? 
The Roaring ’20s might be nice. Maybe I’d visit a speakeasy or two and try to make money in the stock market and get out just before the crash.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? 
The power to think several steps ahead of everyone else.

In life or law, what bugs you? 
Petty bureaucratic functionaries who use their limited power to try to make other people’s lives difficult.

If you could pick a theme song to describe your life, what would it be? 
“Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by the Animals. 

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing? 
Although civilization got by without it for 9,990 years, I think the technology is a good thing. 

What do you find scary? 
A collision with an asteroid like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. It devastated the entire North American continent, leading to the extermination of most of its fauna and flora and unleashing global nuclear winter.

If a drink or sandwich were to be named after you, what would it be called and what would be in it? 
“The Stroblewich” – ham, cheese, and egg without fat, cholesterol or other unhealthy attributes.

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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