The James C. Kimbrough Bar Association (KBA) was founded as the Thurgood Marshall Law Society in 1974. The James C. Kimbrough Bar Association is comprised of primarily African American attorneys in Northern Indiana. Judge Kimbrough was the first African American judge appointed to the Lake County Superior Court in 1974. Judge Kimbrough became the highest ranking African American in the Indiana judicial system and he served as the Chief Judge of the Criminal Division of the Superior Court. The Thurgood Marshall Law Society voted to change the name of the organization to the James C. Kimbrough Bar Association in 1987 following the death of Judge Kimbrough.

Throughout its history, KBA has advocated for appropriate representation of African Americans in the practice, on the bench, and in the associations that contribute to the legal profession. KBA has taken an active role in communities throughout Northwest Indiana; hosting community events, forums, and presenting programing designed introduce the legal profession to students in the region. KBA also regularly partners with other community organizations throughout the region, state, and even the country, to advance the legal profession, educate the community about pressing legal issue, and to ensure access to justice wherever appropriate.

In 2012, KBA began the Hilbert Bradley Scholarship Program. Hilbert Bradley was the first African American graduate from Valparaiso University School of Law, an advocate for labor rights, an instrumental person in getting African Americans on the bench in Indiana, and a long time KBA member. This scholarship aids law students in the Northwest Indiana and the Chicago-land area with bar fees.

Mission Statement

The objectives of the James C. Kimbrough Bar Association shall be to uphold the dignity and standing of the profession of the lawyers and the honor and reputation of the members of this Association; advance the science of jurisprudence; improve the administration of justice by simplifying and expediting procedure, clarifying and advancing the substance of law; preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession; to aid and encourage cordiality among all members; to protect their rights and interest and promote their general welfare; to promote initiatives that will improve the economic and social conditions of the communities that we serve, regardless of race, sex or creed in their efforts to secure a free and untrammeled use of the franchise guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States; and to protect the civil and political rights of the residents of communities that we serve.

Current Initiatives

Santa Gets Sued – Annual Christmas mock trial to middle school children.

Hilbert Bradley Scholarship – Law Student award for bar exam.

Bi-Annual CLE with Lake County Bar – Continuing Legal Education for Attorneys.

CLE with Judge Calvin Hawkins – Continuing Legal Education for Attorney - Occasional.

“Bar Fight Bowl-a-thon” to benefit the Hilbert Bradley Scholarship.

Community Legal Advocacy – Address current legal issues for areas we serve

The fight to keep the Robert D. Rucker Court House open & the fight to maintain an accessible early voting site in the City of Gary.

Community Forums – Past Forums have included “Know your rights” & “Dress for Success”