John F. “Jack” Kimberling graduated from Indiana Law in 1950. A native of Rushville, Indiana, the now-retired attorney was once called “one of the top trial lawyers in the country” by The American Lawyer. He is widely known as a leading U.S. litigation specialist, a charter member of the ABA section on litigation, a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a veteran of two wars.
Kimberling was recalled to active Navy duty during the Korean War just after he had opened his own law practice in Muncie, Indiana. Upon his discharge, he became managing partner in the Los Angeles firm Lillick & McHose, where he was instrumental in guiding the firm’s growth to a general commercial firm with 150 attorneys. In 1986, Kimberling was recruited to head the litigation unit at Dewey Ballantine Bushby Palmer & Wood, where he remained until his retirement in 1990.
Now a California resident who divides his time between Palm Springs and San Diego, Kimberling—who has served in various leadership capacities for both the Republican and Democratic parties—has taken his civic and community affairs activities to a new level in recent years. The publication of his book, What This Country Needs, a study of voter alienation, led to his appearance as moderator on a C-SPAN discussion titled “Is It Time for a New Political Party?”
Since 1988, Kimberling has been a member of the IU Foundation Board of Directors. He served as national co-chair for the highly successful Endowment Campaign for Indiana University Bloomington and also was a member of the steering committee for the Campaign for Indiana (conducted in the 1980s), which raised more than $300 million for IU. Kimberling serves on the Board of Visitors for the School of Law and is co-chairing the Law School’s capital campaign. In 1990, he was inducted into the Academy of Law Alumni Fellows and, in 1993, served as a visiting law professor. In 2001, Kimberling was one of five alumni chosen for achievements in their fields of endeavor and significant contributions to IU and their communities.
In 2009, the Law School's planned giving society was renamed the Kimberling Society in his honor. He died in 2013.
The John F. Kimberling Chair in Law supports the scholarship of a faculty member in the Law School.