Palatine lawyer learned some strategy as rugby player for Blaze
James R. Doerr of Winfield is a defense attorney with Palatine-based Lavelle Law Ltd. and does a monthly podcast called "Liberty and the Law."
And while he's competitive in the courtroom, he was also competitive on the rugby field.
His middle initial stands for Rhino. He's a former rugby player who also was a former president and vice-president of the Chicago Blaze Rugby Club.
"I have met some of my greatest friends, the best guys I ever cared to meet anywhere in the world by playing rugby," said Doerr, 50.
Doerr earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1990 from Benedictine University and then his law degree from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School by 1994. In those early days, a friend was playing rugby and Doerr watched some of the practices. The friend encouraged him to play and he did. Doerr had "the most fun" he's ever had, he said.
He played the prop position, or in the front row of the rugby team, and enjoyed the camaraderie on the field and the after-party hosted by the home team.
After graduation, Doerr returned to his hometown of Lisle at that time and read everything he could about the sport.
One day he was out with a girlfriend and ran into someone who recognized his school team jacket and invited him to try out for the Chicago Blaze. He signed up in 1995 and continued playing through 2011 with the Blaze.
"I'm still a dues-paying 'fossil,' on the old boys team for those over 35," he said.
He also became vice president and president of the club in 2002 and 2003 and helped the group erect new grandstands.
He and his wife of four years, Laura, continue to support the rugby club through their membership and watching games. After all, he enjoys the strategy, teamwork and competitive nature of the game. Those are all lessons he's learned from the game that he also applies to his profession as a lawyer.
"It's all about the willingness to step in and compete and do what you need to do to win," he said. "It's also about the willingness to step forward and help your teammates."
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