Fostering Excellence in Professionalism, Ethics, Civility, and Legal Skills

The Hon. John C. Ford American Inn of Court

Mission Statement p18

  • The mission of the Honorable John C. Ford American Inn of Court is to establish and maintain programs:
  • (i) to foster the mentoring of less experienced members by more experienced practitioners;
  • (ii) to promote collegiality between all members of the Inn, the bankruptcy bench and the bankruptcy bar in general; and
  • (iii) to encourage professional conduct in the practice of law.

History of the Hon. John C. Ford Inn of Court

Bankruptcy law practitioners in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas organized the Honorable John C. Ford American Inn of Court in 2000 as the three hundred and fortieth Inn in the United States and one of three devoted to the specialty of the bankruptcy practice. The Inn was formally presented its Charter on October 11, 2000 by the Honorable Patrick E. Higginbotham, immediate past President of the American Inns of Court Foundation and a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The Inn's membership is diversified among all areas of practice in the bankruptcy field. Four active and five retired bankruptcy judges are members of the Inn. The Honorable Robert C. McGuire, former Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Texas, was its first president. The Honorable John C. Ford, for whom the Inn is named, served as a bankruptcy judge for over twenty-five years in the United States Northern District of Texas, first in the Ft. Worth Division, later in the Dallas Division, and throughout his tenure was the only bankruptcy judge in the Wichita Falls Division. During his many years on the bench and after his retirement, Judge Ford enjoyed immense popularity regionally and nationally with the bankruptcy bar and all who knew him. The founders of the Inn were unanimous from the outset that the Inn should be named to honor Judge Ford.

Judge Ford's popularity came from his wonderful sense of humor, his evenhanded, judicial temperament and from his ability to instinctively reach fair decisions. Innumerable anecdotes about Judge Ford's handling of people and cases have become part of lore of the bankruptcy practice in the Northern District of Texas. Whenever bankruptcy lawyers gather and the conversation turns to Judge Ford, as it often does, each has a favorite John Ford story to tell.

Our Inn members total over one hundred and forty members who are divided into thirteen pupilage (mentoring) groups. Each pupilage group is composed of approximately eighteen attorneys being divided into three tiers of practice: Masters (15 plus); Barristers ( 5-15); and Associates (1-5) . In addition the Ford Inn has fourteen third-year SMU law students. Each of the pupilage groups generally meets once or more monthly to work on projects for the Inn and the community. The overall Inn membership meets monthly from September through April to present speakers on legal topics, to share a meal and to promote camaraderie, ethics and professionalism among its members.

In addition to the above courses, the Ford Inn also conducts programs for High School Interns and Mentoring of younger lawyers by the Judges and Senior Lawyers.

The Hon. John C. Ford Inn of Court membership is encouraged to be familiar with the American Inns of Court Diversity Policy. 

Hon. John C. Ford Inn Member Resouce Links