Michael E. Tolbert, Gary, Chair, House of Delegates, is a partner at the firm Tolbert & Tolbert. He received his under-graduate degree from Valparaiso University in 1997 and his J.D., cum laude, from Valparaiso University School of Law in 2000. Michael is a member of the Lake County (past president), Kimbrough (past president) and Indiana State bar associations. He is active with the Gary Chamber of Commerce (past president) and serves on the boards of the United Negro College Fund, Triumphant Transitions, Inc., and the South Shore Leadership Development Center.
Michael was born in Gary, Ind., in 1975.
Professional enjoyment: I really enjoy the opportunity to assist communities, individuals and companies during difficult times. It feels good to help someone solve a problem, bringing value to their lives.
Your inspiration: I was deeply inspired by Johnnie Cochran’s performance during the O.J. Simpson jury trial. That was the first time I actually got the chance to see a trial lawyer of color perform at a high level.
Why bar association involvement: Involvement in the bar association is crucial in changing the negative perception of lawyers in our society. Participation in the bar association provides me with the opportunity to serve my community and change how lawyers are perceived by the general public.
If not a lawyer: That is a very difficult question. I always wanted to be in the FBI. Law enforcement would probably be my second calling. Also, I would probably work as a community activist in some capacity.
Fav hobbies: My favorite hobbies are reading and chess. Fav book or author and current reading: I am currently reading On Her Own Ground: The Life of Madam C.J. Walker. Fav vacation spot: St. Lucia. Fav food or restaurant: My favorite food is pizza. My favorite restaurant is Gino’s East. Top of my bucket list: tour of the entire continent off Africa.