Boston Inn of Court History
From its quiet beginnings during late-night discussions between
two law students in 1990, the Boston Inn of Court has blossomed
into a strong cadre of Boston's best and brightest members of the
bench, bar, and academia. Throughout its growth, the Inn and its
members have continued to practice the principles conceived of
during those early discussions.
The idea was to gather cross-sections from the bar. Plaintiffs
lawyers would sit with those who do defense work. Seasoned
practitioners would mix with law students. Judges would share ideas
with counsel. The purpose of this endeavor would be to encourage a
sharing of experiences, an encouragement of professionalism, and a
dedication to ethics. Today, these ideals have borne fruit, and the
ninety-member Inn encourages good practice and good sportsmanship
among its membership and throughout the bar at large.
The two law students who started the Inn during their third years
at Boston University School of Law were David Benfield and Chris
Kenney. After discussing the idea for an Inn between themselves,
they approached B.U. Law professors Julius Levine and Robert
Burdick. Levine and Burdick encouraged and assisted the students in
pursuing the idea further. The group contacted the American Inns of
Court for guidance and then formed an organizing committee.
Interest in the organization was not immediately overwhelming. The
group thought, however, that if they could attract even a few
well-known names to their effort, perhaps the interest of others
would be sparked. Fortunately, a number of legal luminaries were at
that time teaching trial advocacy classes on a part-time basis at
B.U., and the group began to pitch their idea to them. Several of
the teachers bit. Federal District Court Judge William Young, State
Supreme Judicial Court Judge Joseph Nolan, and Bingham Dana LLP
attorney William McCormack agreed to lend their names and their
efforts to the endeavor.
Now, with a well-recognized trio at the vanguard, the Inn
advertised an organizational meeting to take place in early 1990.
Some fifty judges, lawyers, and law students packed into B.U.'s
moot courtroom, and the Inn was off and running. The attendees
elected Mr. McCormack as their first president and within weeks, an
Inn delegation traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the American
Inns of Court annual meeting. There, the American Inns of Court
rewarded the Boston Inn for its efforts by chartering it as the
nation's 100th Inn of Court, a distinction that the Boston Inn
proudly holds today.
Early Inn meetings were held in Judge Young's courtroom. After the
substantive portion of the meeting, members would walk over to the
Boston office of Bingham Dana LLP at 150 Federal Street for a
social dinner. As the membership of the Inn grew to over eighty
members, it moved its meetings to Maison Robert, a popular
restaurant located inside of Boston's historic Old City Hall on
Additionally, in 2001, the Boston Inn of Court sent a
representative to the national American Inns of Court Celebration
of Excellence. In 2001, the annual event was hosted by Justice Ruth
Bader Ginsburg at the United States Supreme Court on October 20.
The 2001 A. Sherman Christensen Award was presented to Joryn
Jenkins, Esq. of Tampa, FLA and the Honorable Shirley Mount
Hufstedler of Los Angeles, CA was the recipient of the Lewis F.
Powell, Jr. Award for Professionalism and Ethics. U.S. Supreme
Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor also attended to join the
Honorable Randy J. Holland, AIC Board of Trustees President, and
fellow attendees in honoring Robert L. Hutton of Memphis, TN, the
first recipient of the Sandra Day O'Connor Award, which was
established by the AIC Trustees. The Boston Inn of Court Program
Director Jim Harrington represented The Boston AIC and was able to
meet and speak with both Supreme Court Justices.