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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. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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