As the Indianapolis Bar Association celebrates Black History Month, please support us at our Indianapolis Bar Association Diversity Job Fair on August 6-7, 2018. If you want more information about the IndyBar Diversity Job Fair and how you can get involved, please contact Lesley Hayes at email@example.com or visit ibadiversityjobfair.org.
Meet Mr. Robert Lee Brokenburr, the first African American attorney admitted to the Indianapolis Bar Association and the first African American Senator elected in the state. He graduated from Hampton Institute in Virginia in 1906. He later earned a law degree from Howard University before moving to Indianapolis in 1909. After his arrival, Brokenburr met Madam C.J. Walker and incorporated the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. He served as general manager and counsel to it for many years. In 1940, he ran for the Indianapolis Senate. He won his seat and would hold for 20 years.
In 1953, he was voted into Indianapolis Bar Association membership, breaking the color barriers that kept white and black lawyer in separate organizations. It was because of this other African American lawyers were accepted as well.
Robert’s major accomplishments include: serving as chairman of the Better Indianapolis League, pushing a bill in 1941 to force the Indiana High School Athletic Association to admit segregated black schools to the organization; serving on the Board of Directors of Flanner House, and serving as a trustee of the Jones Tabernacle AME Zion Church. Robert was also a 33rd degree Mason and senior warden, he received the Stephen Wise Award of the American Jewish Congress, he was the second president of the Indianapolis chapter of the NAACP, and he was active member in Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He served as a board member of the United Negro College Fund, worked for the Boys Scouts of America and the young Men’s Christian Association, and was the first Hoosier to serve as an alternate representative to the United Nations when President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him.
As we continue Robert’s path, we want to highlight Mr. Finis Tatum IV who continues the legal legacy of Robert Lee Brokenburr.
Meet Mr. Finis Tatum IV, of counsel at Glaser & Ebbs. He concentrates his practice on criminal defense and personal injury cases. Prior to joining Glaser & Ebbs, Finis was an attorney in a small business law firm and practiced in various areas of law, including: commercial real estate, municipal law, construction, employment, mergers and acquisitions, business entity formation, bankruptcy, divorce, and probate and estate planning. Before entering private practice, Finis served as a law clerk for then-Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard on the Indiana Supreme Court. He was a summer associate for Ice Miller LLP in the product liability section and was a summer intern for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.
Finis is actively involved in the legal and broader communities. He graduated from the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Bar Leader Series and has served on a number of the bar’s various committees. Finis also graduated from the Emerging Leader’s Project and the Indiana State Bar’s Leadership Development Academy. In the community, he is the board chairman for International Ministries, Inc., which is an organization operating in greater-Indianapolis to address systemic crime and provides disaster relief abroad. He also coaches for Eagle Creek Little League in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Finis earned his B.A. in History from Purdue University – West Lafayette in 2003 and he played football on the Big Ten champion and 2001 Rose Bowl team. He was a member of the Phi Eta Sigma, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Phi Alpha Theta Honor Societies. Finis earned his J.D. from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 2010. In 2017, Finis was named on the Indiana Super Lawyers Rising Stars list for his work in criminal defense. The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys presented Finis with the 2017 Nationally Ranked Top 10 under 40 Attorney Award.