Member Spotlight: Robert J. Thole

Picture+Robert+TholeRobert J. Thole is an associate attorney at Grefe & Sidney, PLC. He was raised in Dyersville, Iowa, on his parents’ farm, and he worked his way through high school and college by cleaning livestock trailers and working as a laborer for a plastering crew.

He recently went to Haiti on an eight-day education and healthcare based service trip with a group of volunteers from his hometown of Dyersville. The area they focus on is in the remote mountain villages near the Dominican Republic border. These villages have no electricity, running water, or plumbing, and little to no access to public services. Throughout the year, local Iowa schools, businesses, and churches have fundraisers and 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to subsidizing student tuition, building rural schools and clinics, and paying nurse and teacher salaries.

Robert graduated from the University of Northern Iowa and from Drake Law School. He has two children, Maxwell, 6; and Kaitlyn, 3. He can be reached by phone at 515-245-4455 or via email at

Notable Achievements?

I recently performed my first solo trial. On directed verdict, I was able to get a fraud claim and claim for punitive damages dismissed.

Why you do what you do?

I had a plaintiff case that recently settled. After the settlement, my client called me, crying and said, with this money he can finally pay off the debt he incurred because of this loss. Without a lawyer he would not have received a dime. Being a trial lawyer can be stressful at times, but all those long hours are worth it when my work on a case has a positive effect on my client’s life.

What you do to get away from work?

In my free time, I enjoy bringing my children back to the farm, being outside and working with my father.

Words to live by?

My father has worked in labor-intensive industries his entire life. He is a farmer and electrician. He told me at the start of every school year, “Work hard in your studies so you don’t have to work hard the rest of your life.”

Favorite book?

Everyman by Philip Roth

Best place to visit in Polk County?

Science Center and Gray’s Lake

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor and why:

Although I did not choose him, I could not ask for a better mentor than my father. I am the man I am because of him.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Starting in fourth grade, I read every John Grisham novel. From that point in my life I knew I would become a lawyer.

If you could learn to do anything, what would you choose to learn to do and why?

I played the guitar in my high school’s jazz band, but I haven’t picked up my old guitars since graduating. I would choose to relearn to play the guitar so I can teach my kids how to play.