By Taroue Brooks
What inspired you to become an attorney?
As a young child of maybe 9, I saw a family member’s civil and due process rights violated and understood then that the system was not fair for people of color, poor or marginalized people. I was able to go to court to watch the trial and it shaped my love for the law and birthed my passion for social justice and reform.
How have you had to adjust with your practice since Covid-19?
I certainly had to adjust my practice since Covid-19. Like many other industries the legal profession began to move towards remote video meetings, zoom court hearings, and increased telephonic conferencing. I began to work primarily from my home office, seeing clients remotely or telephonically and increased the use of electronic payment portals. Like other businesses during the quarantine my office expenses began to overtake the incoming receipts but with patience and restructuring we were able to find a new normal. Business is returning to its normal level lately and there are more productive assessments and changes on the horizon.
How do you maintain your viability in such a competitive industry?
I have been able to maintain the viability of my law practice in such a competitive industry through well established community connections over the nearly 27 years that I have practiced law in Indiana and Illinois. My clients, municipal, corporate and individual have come from personal referrals through established community relationships and satisfied previous clients.
Tell us about your memorable case?
I had a young man who was in a great deal of criminal trouble who I was able to help him get most of his charges dismissed and get him into a program that would get him out being a repeat offender. This young man did not have very many resources so I took his case for a severely reduced amount. He had been in and out of the juvenile and adult justice system since he was 12 and in fact told me about how his mother had taught him how to cook, weigh and bag crack cocaine rather than check his homework when he was only 11. He was an extremely bright young man who wanted to change his life and had spent the time in the juvenile system securing his high school diploma and an associates degree. It was rewarding to fight for this young man and get him out of the criminal justice system permanently.
What does success look like to you?
Success is having a positive impact on others and on my community. When I can be of service to another especially those who don’t traditionally have advocates then I feel I am successful. Moreover, when I am able to positively impact the criminal justice system and improve social justice for the citizens of my community then I will feel truly successful!
If you weren’t an attorney, what type of profession would you be engaged?
I am an elected official now and a social justice advocate as well. I am also very interested in the entertainment industry in particular social and political commentary and programing.
What kind of advise would you share with someone who seeks to become an attorney?
I would advise anyone seeking to become an attorney to explore the many areas within the profession and try to shadow an attorney within their areas of interest. Moreover, make sure you love reading, writing and analysis. Critical thinking skills are a necessity and taking some logic classes can be very advantageous.
Where do you see your business in the next five years?
In the next five years I would love to have shifted my law practice to include more legal advocacy for social justice reform, consulting, and legal contributions on media outlets.
Kelly White Gibson, Esq.
Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, Kelly White Gibson is an Attorney with a vibrant solo practice in Northwest, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois with over 26 years in practice. She graduated in the top 10 of 552 students from Roosevelt High School before leaving for Palo Alto, California. In California, she received her Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University with Honors in 1990, double majoring in Political Science and African-American studies. She returned home prompted by a full scholarship to Valparaiso University School of Law (“Valpo”). While at “Valpo Law”, she held a position on the Executive Board of the Moot Court Society, became BLSA president her third year, and interned in the school’s Legal Clinic which partnered with Legal Services of Northwest Indiana. She earned her J.D. in 1994 with honors in Constitutional Law and Legal Writing.
Attorney Gibson has been practicing law for nearly 27 years and has held positions in the Lake County Prosecutor’s office, Cook County Public Guardian and Public Defender’s office and currently in the Lake County Courts criminal division. During that tenure she represented various municipal boards in her private practice and as a Partner in McCain & White, P.C. as well as through her associations with the Honorable Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson she served as a contract attorney for the City of Gary Law Department, Redevelopment, and Fire Department as well local Bond Counsel. Attorney Gibson was the co-founder of McCain & White, P.C., a full service law firm with offices located in Gary, Merrillville and Chicago specializing in municipal, corporate, personal injury, criminal defense and civil rights litigation.
Having taught and presented at Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Program, she was also an adjunct faculty instructor of Political Science, Criminal Justice, Criminal Law Procedure and Court at the University of Phoenix. She is a member of the Indiana and Illinois State Bar Associations; The Lake County, Cook County, James C. Kimbrough and Women’s Bar Associations. Active in her church and local political community as a Precinct Committee-woman, Attorney Gibson has worked on the campaigns of Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and President Barack Obama. Most recently she decided to lend her gifts and expertise to her Town and ran a successful landslide campaign to become the first African-American Clerk Treasurer in the Town of Merrillville, Indiana. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a lifetime member of the NAACP and Urban League. She spends most of her “free” time educating young people on political and social justice and encouraging participation in local politics. Most importantly she continues to mentor her children in their perspective careers.