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Thomas N. Taneff

Ohio Probate, Estate Planning, and Adoption Attorney

Columbus attorney, probate, adoption, estate planning

Tommy Taneff is the successful lawyer he is today because his mother made him go to law school.

"I didn't necessarily want to go to law school," he recalls at age 35, nine years after being accepted to practice law in Ohio. But with my parents being from the "old country" (how Taneff refers to the country of Macedonia or the former Republic of Yugoslavia) furthering education was his family's top concern.

"My mom used to say you have to go further," he said. He's the first and only lawyer in his family. He is the first to go past the eighth grade. He and his three siblings are the first generation of Americans from immigrant parents.

After receiving his bachelor's degree in business administration in 1984, he went on to Capital University Law School where he was able to take classes at the Copenhagen University Law School in Denmark in 1986. He received his law degree from Capital in 1987. In 1997 he completed his P.I.L. from Harvard Law School.

He was hired to serve as a judicial law clerk for former Franklin County Probate Court Judge Richard B. Metcalf in 1986. He served three years in that position absorbing all he could about family law.

"The practice of probate is the full cycle of life," Taneff said. "It truly is family practice." From adoptions, estate administration, estate litigation, wills, name changes, estate planning and guardianship issues, "It's family law."

In 1988, Taneff would spend the next year as a general referee, now known as magistrate, for the Franklin County Probate Court.

He worked as an associate lawyer for four years at the law firm of Isaac, Brant, Ledman & Becker. "Fred Isaac took me under his wing," Taneff said. "He was a great mentor in my life."

Taneff in 1992 went solo opening his own firm. "I'm the first person in my family who has ever been self-employed," he said. His family has "always worked for someone else."

Taneff said it's easy for a lawyer to build his own practice. "Get involved in the community whether it's the church or civic organizations, then get prepared and take a sincere interest in it."

Taneff did just that. He is a New Albany Village councilman, serves as the Village Liaison to the School Board appeals review board and is the legal advisor to the ethics committee for the Crestview Manor Nursing Home.

Although he is involved in politics at the local level, and has worked on dozens of judicial and political campaigns he has no political aspirations at this stage in his life.

He is quite active in his legal memberships. He belongs to the Ohio State and Columbus Bar Associations and is a former two term Board of Governors with the CBA.

"Young attorneys ought to realize the benefits of being involved within their own profession, "Taneff said. 'The more I'm involved with the bar, the more it benefits my practice."

Taneff said that he can at times be cynical, but that he is pretty lucky to be doing what he is doing. The first adoption he handled, he placed the baby in the arms of the adoptive parents. "There was almost as much excitement as when my two children were born."

"Imagine being a lawyer and helping to create a family that never would have been without your help," Taneff said. He's been involved in almost 2,000 cases.

Now he gets birthday and Christmas cards and invitations to baptisms. "The most exciting part of probate is adoption," Taneff said. "You really feel like a family lawyer."

He said everything has to be done to minimize a contested adoption. One way is to make sure there is representation on all sides, he said. "If there is a problem, it's hard to fix when there is no representation."

He served on the Ohio Adoption Task Force and Ohio Adoption Commission, having been appointed by Gov. George V. Voinovich, and the Franklin County Children Services Adoption Task Force.

Although Taneff works hard, he always finds time to spend time with this family. He tells his clients no weekends or evenings unless there is a baby due. That's family time.

He met his wife Kimberly at Ohio State University after a friend introduced them to each other. The couple is now married and has two sons, Blake and Evan.

In his spare time, he enjoys fishing and hunting. He once was charged by a wild boar in West Virginia. He managed to drop his rifle and climb up a tree. Now that boar's head is mounted in his office. He also hunts wild turkey and deer.

Taneff said on the road of life, he's had some forks in the road he's had to choose between. "I usually go the right way. I've made some tough decisions."

Areas of Practice

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio, 1988
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio, 1988

Education

  • Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1997
    P.I.L.

  • Capital University Law School, Columbus, Ohio, 1987
    J.D.

  • The Ohio State University, 1984
    B.S.

References

  • Prof. David S. Bloomfield, Esq.
  • Richard A. Utz, Esq.
  • Thomas J. Bonasera, Esq.
  • H. Ritchey Hollenbaugh, Esq.
  • Frank A. Ray, Esq.
  • Byron Blake, M.D.
  • Mark & Regina Lehmenkuler
  • Phillip G. Lilly, Esq.
  • Prof. Kent R. Markus
  • Gordon Zacks

Classes/Seminars Taught

  • Lecturer, Probate & Adoption, Ohio C.L.E. Institute
  • Lecturer, Probate & Adoption, Columbus Bar Association
  • Lecturer, Probate & Adoption, Professional Education Systems, Inc.
  • Lecturer, Probate & Adoption, Probate Educational Co-Op
  • Lecturer, Probate & Adoption, Professional Development Network
  • Lecturer, Probate & Adoption, National Federation of Paralegals Association
  • Lecturer, Probate & Adoption, Columbus Bar Assn. Legal Secretaries
  • Lecturer, Probate & Adoption, Columbus Assn. of Legal Secretaries
  • Lecturer, Probate & Adoption, Capital University Law School
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, A.A.R.P.
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, All Saints Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, American Association of Retired People
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, American Cancer Society
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, American Red Cross
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Arbors at Columbus
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, AT&T Retiree Club
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Barber/Roselea center
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Central Ohio Diabetes Association
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Central Ohio Radio Reading Service
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Church of the Good Shepherd
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Columbus Alzheimer's Care Center
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Columbus Cancer Clinic
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Columbus Public Library Linden Branch
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Community Resources Center
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Convalarium at Indian Run
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, C.O.T.A. Retiree Club
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, First Community Village
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Martin Janis Senior Recreation Center
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, McDowell Senior Center
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Mount Carmel East Hospital
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Mount Carmel Medical Center
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, National Association of Retired Federal Employees
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Oakleaf Village
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Riverside Senior Center
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, St. John's Lutheran Church
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, St. Luke Convalescent Center
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Village of Westerville Retirement Center
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Worthington Christian Village
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, Worthington Public Library
  • Lecturer, Probate/Estate Administration/Guardianships/Estate Planning, WOSU-AM Radio Talk Show
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Adoption: Our Common Bond Conference
  • Lecturer, Adoption, All Ohio High School Counselors Conference
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Capital University Law School
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Columbus Public Schools
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Doctor's Hospital North
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Elizabeth Blackwell Center
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Franklin County Chapter of Medical Assistants
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Prenatal Caring-Improving Birth Outcomes
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Grant Medical Center
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Madison County Hospital
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Mount Carmel East Hospital
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Mount Carmel Medical Center
  • Lecturer, Adoption, FCCS - National Adoption Day
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Mt. Carmel School of Nursing
  • Lecturer, Adoption, New Roots
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Ohio State Hospital
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Regional Perinatal Social Workers Conference
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Resolve
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Riverside Methodist Hospital
  • Lecturer, Adoption, St. Ann's
  • Lecturer, Adoption, Annual Region IV Perinatal
  • Lecturer, Adoption, WCMH-TV
  • Lecturer, Adoption, WCVO 105 FM Radio
  • Lecturer, Adoption, WLVQ-FM 96 Radio
  • Lecturer, Adoption, WMNI Radio AM/FM
  • Lecturer, Adoption, WNCI-FM Radio

Honors and Awards

  • United States Congressional Angels in Adoption Award, 2005

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • International Visitors Council
    Trustee

  • World Summit on Trade
    Volunteer Ambassador

  • Bravo of Opera Columbus
    Past Treasurer

  • Creative Living
    Past Trustee

  • Jewish Family Services Trustee

  • Ohio State Board of Cosmetology
    Trustee

  • New Albany Village
    Former Councilman

  • New Albany and Plain Township Franklin County Republican
    Central Committee Person

  • New Albany Community Authority
    District Board of Trustees Member

  • Judicial Screening Committee of Franklin County Republican Central Committee

  • Columbus Bar Association
    Board of Governors

  • Lawyer Referral Service
    Former Chair

  • Ohio State Bar Association

  • Voinovich Ohio Adoption Task Force

  • Franklin County Children's Services

  • Adoption Task Force

  • Voinovich Ohio Adoption Commission

  • Dave Thomas Center for Adoption Law
    Board of Advisors

Past Employment Positions

  • Law Office of Thomas N. Taneff, 1992 - Present
  • Isaac, Brant, Ledman & Becker, 1989 - 1992
  • Franklin County Probate Court - General Referee, 1988 - 1989
  • The Honorable Richard B. Metcalf - Judicial Law Clerk, 1986 - 1989
  • Richard A. Utz - Law Clerk, 1984 - 1986

Pro Bono Activities

  • Volunteer Ambassador for World Summit on Trade
Thomas Taneff | 600 South High Street, Suite 201 | Columbus, Ohio 43215 | Phone: (614) 241-2181 | Fax: (614) 241-2160