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Leadership in Law 2013: Rhett L. Tauber

Senior Partner, Tauber Law Offices, Schererville Valparaiso University Law School

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tauber-rhett-7036-15col.jpg (IL Photo/Shephard Imageworks, Mark Shephard)

Rhett L. Tauber is admired as not only a skilled school attorney, but also as a leader in his community. There isn’t a facet of the town of Highland that Rhett has not influenced. He has served as the town attorney for more than 30 years and has been instrumental in moving it forward. Some consider him “reminiscent of the way lawyers used to be: a strong advocate for his client yet always courteous to the other party’s point of view.” Rhett is an effective mentor who has an open-door policy, always making time and providing counsel without being overbearing or condescending. In addition to his work for the town of Highland, Rhett practices law with his son Jared Tauber and daughter Tara Tauber.

If you could meet and spend a day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why?
John Grisham. He’s a very well-rounded and successful individual, and he’s the perfect example of how your law license can be used in many different ways.

What civic cause is the most important to you?
The development of recreational activities and opportunities for the youth in my hometown of Highland, Indiana.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
I would be captain of a boat in the Caribbean.

You practice law with your children. What one piece of advice would you give to those considering working with family members?
Working with family members is very rewarding, but it also has challenges. You should always expect the same level of work ethic, productivity and professionalism from family members as you do from your non-related partners and employees.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Besides your family, you should cherish your law license more than anything else. To be successful in the practice of law you need to be ethical, hard working, productive and, most importantly, give your best effort in representing clients day in and day out.

If you could pick a theme song to describe your life, what would it be?
“Small Town” by John Mellencamp.

In life or law, what bugs you?
Lack of preparation.

If a drink or sandwich were to be named after you, what would it be called and what would be in it?
“Rhett Butler” club sandwich – turkey, ham, lettuce, cheese, tomato, mayo, bacon, fried egg on toasted wheat bread.

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
It would be a bad thing. 24/7 technology has given us greater opportunities in life as well as in business, including the practice of law. It’s hard to remember how we were able to easily communicate with people without smart phones and email, although I spent the majority of my career without them.

Numerous TV shows center around lawyers and their practices. Are any of them close to realistic?
Although I enjoy television, watching shows centered around lawyers and their practices, I have not found any of them to be realistic.

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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

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