The Florida Family Law American Inn of Court
late 1990's, a group of lawyers and judges got together to follow a
tradition that began in England and has been around for centuries,
The Inn of Court. The Honorable Gary Flower, Homer Bliss, Cindy
Catalan and David Garfinkel formalized The Florida Family Law
American Inn of Court after initially meeting informally to discuss
family law, professionalism, trial techniques and procedures, and
to discuss new family law ideas. After meeting numerous times and
feeling that this type of dialogue would assist others in the
practice of family law, The Inn of Court was born.
At that time in Jacksonville, there
already existed the Chester Bedell Inn of Court, which was a
general practice Inn. The American Inn of Courts recognized family
law as a separate entity for establishment of a separate Inn of
Court. The founding members' solicited The Honorable Jean Johnson
and Demere Mason to help organize an Inn of Court specializing in
family law. The Honorable Jean Johnson and Homer Bliss then
attended a seminar on how to start an Inn of Court.
Charter members were sent
invitations to join the Inn of Court and during its formation and
initial year. The Florida Family Law American Inn of Court was
assisted greatly by the judges then on the family law bench being
Judge Jean Johnson, Judge David Wiggins, Judge Karen Cole, Judge
Bernard Nachman and Judge Jack Schemer. Additional impetus came
from the help of Chief Justice Major Harding of THE FLORIDA SUPREME
COURT and The Honorable Susan Black of the 11th CIRCUIT COURT OF
History of the American Inns of Court
The American Inns of Court concept
was the product of a discussion in the late 1970's among the United
States' members of the Anglo American exchange of lawyers and
judges, including Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Chief Judge of
the Ninth Circuit 3. Clifford Wallace. Chief Justice Burger
subsequently invited Rex E. Lee (then Dean of the J. Reuben Clark
School of Law at Brigham Young University and later United States
Solicitor General) and Dallin Oaks (then president of Brigham Young
University and later Justice of the Utah Supreme Court) to test the
At the suggestion of Rex Lee, a
pilot program was entrusted to Senior United States District Court
Judge A. Sherman Christensen, who honed the idea into a feasible
concept. The first American Inn of Court was founded in 1980 in the
Provo/Salt Lake City area of Utah, and included law students from
Brigham Young University. Within the next three years, additional
American Inns formed in Utah, Mississippi, Hawaii, New York, and
Washington, D. C.
In 1983, Chief Justice Burger
created a committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States
to explore whether the American Inn concept was of value to the
administration of justice and, if so, whether there should be a
national organization to promote, establish and assist American
Inns, and promote the goals of legal excellence, civility,
professionalism and ethics on a national level. The committee
reported to the Judicial Conference affirmatively on the two
questions and proposed the creation of the American Inns of Court
Foundation. The Judicial Conference approved the reports and, thus,
endorsed the American Inn concept and the formation of a national
structure. In 1985, the American Inns of Court Foundation was
The Mission of the American Inns of
Court is to foster excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility,
and legal skills for judges, lawyers, academicians, and students of
the law in order to perfect the quality, availability and
efficiency of justice in the United States.
- To promote, establish and charter American Inns of Court
throughout the United States.
- To help ensure the vitality and continuity of local
- To facilitate the exchange of ideas, experiences and
ongoing education among members of the American Inns of Court,
thereby maintaining an institutional forum where judges, lawyers,
academicians and students of law, working together, pursue the
highest goals of the legal profession.
- To shape a culture of excellence in American
jurisprudence by promoting a commitment to professionalism, ethics,
civility and legal skills in the practice of law, and transmitting
these values from one generation of lawyers to the
- To ensure the viability and long-term stability of the
American Inns of Court Foundation.
Whereas, the Rule of Law is
essential to preserving and protecting the rights and liberties of
a free people; and Whereas, throughout history, lawyers and judges
have preserved, protected and defended the Rule of Law in order to
ensure justice for all; and Whereas, preservation and promulgation
of the highest standards of excellence in professionalism, ethics,
civility, and legal skills are essential to achieving justice under
the Rule of Law; Now therefore, as a member of an American Inn of
Court, I hereby adopt this professional creed with a pledge to
honor its principles and practices:
- I will treat the practice of law
as a learned profession and will uphold the standards of the
profession with dignity, civility and courtesy.
- I will value my integrity above
all. My word is my bond.
- I will develop my practice with
dignity and will be mindful in my communications with the public
that what is constitutionally permissible may not be professionally
- I will serve as an officer of the
court, encouraging respect for the law in all that I do and
avoiding abuse or misuse of the law, its procedures, its
participants and its processes.
- I will represent the interests of
my client with vigor and will seek the most expeditious and least
costly solutions to problems, resolving disputes through
negotiation whenever possible.
- I will work continuously to attain
the highest level of knowledge and skill in the areas of the law in
which I practice.
- I will contribute time and
resources to public service, charitable activities and pro bona
- I will work to make the legal
system more accessible, responsive and effective.
- I will honor the requirements, the
spirit and the intent of the applicable rules or codes of
professional conduct for my jurisdiction, and will encourage others
to do the same.