Tolbert, McCrum, Raman honored with DTCI 2020 awards

Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana is honored to announce the 2020 outstanding defense lawyers of the year.

Defense Lawyer of the Year


Michael Tolbert, a partner in the Gary firm of Tolbert & Tolbert, has been named the 2020 DTCI Defense Lawyer of the Year. Nominated by Renee Mortimer, managing partner in the northwest Indiana office of Lewis Brisbois and a former president of DTCI, Tolbert was praised for his professional leadership and his commitment to the northwest Indiana community. He has chaired the Gary Chamber of Commerce and the Commission for Continuing Legal Education and served on the board of the not-for-profit Housing Opportunities Inc. He is past president of the Kimbrough Minority Bar Association, the Porter County Chapter of the American Inns of Court and the Lake County Bar Association. Having served for many years in various capacities for the Indiana State Bar Association, he was recently installed as president of the ISBA. In addition to all this, he continues his involvement with the United Negro College Fund and the Urban League of Northwest Indiana. He and his wife, Shelice, lead the employment ministry at their church in Gary.

The Defense Lawyer of the Year award is presented to a licensed lawyer who, in the opinion of the awards committee, as approved by the board of directors, has promoted the interests of the Indiana defense bar since the last annual meeting of the DTCI in a most significant way in the fields of litigation, legislation, publication or participation in local, state or national defense organizations.

Diplomats of the Indiana Defense Trial Counsel


DTCI has installed as its 2020 Diplomat of the Indiana Defense Trial Counsel John McCrum, a partner in Eichhorn & Eichhorn. Nominated by Louis Voelker, his partner in the firm, McCrum was cited for his nearly four decades of service to the defense bar. He is a fellow of the American Board of Trial Advocates and previously served on the DTCI Board of Directors. He has long held an AV pre-eminent rating with Martindale-Hubbell and has been identified as a Super Lawyer in Indiana since 2013. His defense litigation practice is diverse and includes medical malpractice, legal malpractice, dental malpractice, worker’s compensation, employment law and municipality/law enforcement negligence and civil rights claims. Mr. McCrum has tried cases in state and federal court in Indiana and has handled appellate matters before both the state and federal courts of appeal.

A Diplomat of the Indiana Defense Trial Counsel is a member of the Indiana bar who, in the judgment of the officers and directors of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, has distinguished himself throughout his career by outstanding contributions to the representation of clients in the defense of litigation matters.

Outstanding Young Lawyer


Barath Raman, an associate at Lewis Wagner in Indianapolis, was named the DTCI Outstanding Young Lawyer for 2020. His partner in the firm and former DTCI president Thomas C. Hays praised him in his nomination for his “aptitude, passion, and diligence” and his commitment to the firm, the defense bar, and the community at large. Starting his professional life as a civil engineer, he pursued his legal education at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, where he flourished academically and was elected president of the student body before receiving his J.D. In his six years of practice, Barath has tried four cases and has been involved in two appeals. In addition to his work in civil litigation, Mr. Raman is active in the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana. He chaired its Construction Law section, authored several articles for The Indiana Lawyer and organized social and educational events for its members. Barath is also a member of the national defense group DRI.

Raman co-founded Suited Up, a program that provides at-risk, economically disadvantaged college-bound students with dress attire and professional development support. He paired young people who lacked business attire with lawyers with unworn suits in their closets, thus collecting a vast amount of clothing donations. Raman is the co-president of Friends of Riley, a group of young professionals working to raise funds for Riley Hospital for Children. With his guidance, the Friends of Riley Board planned the annual gala in 2019 and raised more than $50,000.

The Outstanding Young Lawyer Award is presented to a member of the Defense Trial Counsel, less than 35 years old, who has shown leadership qualities in service to the Indiana defense bar, the national defense bar or the community.•

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