Kimbrough Bar serves NW Indiana

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Bar Crawl

Shelice R. Tolbert, a partner at the Crown Point office of Kopka Pinkus Dolin & Eads, was sworn in as president of the James C. Kimbrough Bar Association by a longtime bar association supporter and member, Indiana Supreme Court Justice Robert D. Rucker, who has personal and professional ties to northwest Indiana.

She replaces Trent A. McCain, principal of McCain Law Offices in Merrillville, as head of the association with a historically African-American membership. Her term will last until April 30, 2011. Her husband, Michael Tolbert, is a past president of the organization.

Justice Rucker also swore in vice president Alger V. Boswell III of The Boswell Law Office in Hammond; secretary Joann M. Price of The Law Offices of Joann M. Price in Merrillville; and treasurer Barbara A. Bolling of the Law Office of Barbara Bolling in Gary.

Tolbert said while the organization never went away completely, the involvement of members, the group’s community work, and its visibility among non-members has been increasing in recent years. One of her goals is not only to get more young members to join, whether that’s working with Valparaiso University School of Law – which many members have ties to, including Justice Rucker – reaching out to younger members in the area’s legal community, or even reaching out to more experienced members who aren’t as active as they once were.

She said they also welcome Chicago attorneys who have ties to the area and want to remain active in networking with northwest Indiana lawyers. She said membership is also encouraged for Valparaiso students and recent grads who’ve considered moving to Chicago.

Tolbert said she and past leaders have helped the organization to become more involved with the Indiana State Bar Association, as well as bar associations in the area and the state’s other historically African-American bar association, the Marion County Bar Association in Indianapolis.

In June, members of the Kimbrough Bar Association were invited to the ISBA’s Solo and Small Firm Conference in Merrillville, and many attended the annual diversity dinner. In January 2011, the organization will host an ISBA president for the third time with a reception.

That event is open to members, law students, and leaders of other bar associations in the area, including the Lake County Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association, and the Hispanic Bar Association.

Past ISBA president R. William Jonas and current president Roderick Morgan have both attended receptions hosted by the Kimbrough Bar Association. Tolbert said she expects ISBA president-elect Jeffrey Lind, who will become president in October, to also attend a reception for him and others in January.

The organization will also continue community service, she said.

Members participate in Law Day activities at area high schools, as well as Operation LIFT – Lawyers Intercepting Family Trouble. Past projects have included donations directly to families and the Red Cross following floods in the area. The group also collects food and grocery store gift cards to provide to local churches during the holidays.

For those looking to get involved, Tolbert said they can contact her at or (219) 794-1888.

As far as taking over the role her husband had a couple terms ago?

“He tries to stand back and let me do things on my own, but he will give me tips and advice if I ask him,” she said. “He’s always been willing to step up any time we need him to.”•


Bar Crawl is Indiana Lawyer’s new section that will highlight bar association news around the state. We try to include bar association news and trends in our regular stories, but we want to include more news from specialty and county bars. If you’d like to submit an update about your bar association or a photo from an event your bar association has hosted to Indiana Lawyer, or if you have questions about having your bar association news included in the newspaper, please send it to Rebecca Berfanger,, along with contact information for any follow up questions at least two weeks in advance of the issue date.


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  1. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  2. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  3. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  4. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  5. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well