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Tax lawyer’s outside activities strike a chord

Rob Teuber (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Rob Teuber knows most people don’t associate tax law with hard rock, but for the attorney with Weiss Berzowski Brady LLP, the two are a compatible blend.

Rocking out on stage with local band Brass Knuckle Symphony is a way to offset the work duties of resolving IRS audits or federal tax collection issues, he said.

Teuber, 37, said his contributions to the band are more theatrical than musical, however.

“I tried to play various instruments over the years,” Teuber said, “but it’s more dancing around and having a good time up there.”

Outside of attempting to play guitar in the band, mostly for the experience, Teuber said he has taken part in the Polar Plunge on several occasions, competed in the mud-caked Warrior Dash 5K adventure race in Wisconsin and won a lederhosen fashion contest.

“It’s an unexpected paradox,” he said, “for a tax lawyer, I suppose.”

But Teuber said it’s just in his nature to be silly sometimes, and his tax law work doesn’t dictate his personality.

He joined Weiss Berzowksi in 2005 after five years with the Milwaukee office of Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren SC.

While he enjoys his job, Teuber said he relishes opportunities to incorporate a little of his own tastes into the workday.

“I’ll listen to music when I work,” he said. “Sometimes it’s classical, sometimes it’s Enya and sometimes it’s something a little more enthusiastic.”

Wisconsin Law Journal: If you could develop one CLE course for credit, what would it be about?
Rob Teuber:
I would like to see more courses geared towards teaching young lawyers about the nonlaw side of the practice of law. We all learn the same rules in school. We all know that you are supposed to do good work and try to get clients.  The business of law, however, seems to be something that people have to learn through experience.

WLJ: What was your least favorite course in law school and why?
Teuber: Estate planning. The course was good and so was the professor. But it is the only tax class in which I didn’t get an A. I think that has made me bitter.

WLJ: What do you consider your biggest achievement to date and why?
Teuber: Taking first place in a ‘Looking Good in Lederhosen’ contest, for obvious reasons. Also, for a tax guy, I am unexpectedly proficient at home repair, although I am not so sure that ranks quite as high as the lederhosen.

WLJ: What is the one luxury item you cannot live without?
Teuber: It is a dead heat between a cell phone and the iPad. Each is like the ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ at our fingertips. Having access to that much information from just about anywhere makes these devices utterly astonishing when you sit back and think about it.

WLJ: What do you miss most about your childhood?
Teuber: Playing. Sure, we can still play now doing sports and hiking, or we can play with our children. But having a good 10-hour play based solely in a world of imagination constructed by you and your friends — that was great.

WLJ: What is the first concert you went to?
Teuber: KISS, at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio in the early ‘90s. It was the original lineup in makeup and the first of their reunion tours. Maybe there is better music out there, but that show is hard to beat.

WLJ: If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?
Teuber: My wife. She is a prosecutor and I cannot think of something that contrasts my dealing with tax audits and controversies more. I work to protect money, ensure that procedures are followed and to show the proper perspective on a set of facts. She on the other hand, deals with issues of personal liberty, pursues consequences for bad acts and protects victims of crime. We work in entirely different worlds and it would be interesting to experience her world from her perspective.

WLJ: What is your motto?
Teuber: Embrace the unexpected.  It is the only way to be happy in life. I am convinced that those people that walk around grumpy all the time are just upset that everything has not gone according to plan. When you are willing to run with the unexpected things that happen, you can enjoy yourself while you do.

WLJ: If you could be a superhero, who would it be and why?
Teuber: Doctor Who. He is not really a superhero in the traditional sense. Rather, he is just a really smart guy who is able to defeat multiple threats to creation by just being clever. Well, cleverness and a time travelling phone booth.

WLJ: If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?
Teuber: A physicist or an astronomer. It is not that I can claim to understand most of it, but I find the subject matter fascinating.

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