B-H-S Inn Logo 9-12-17 (trans ) Clean (website Size)Welcome to the Website of the Ball/Hunt/Schooley American Inn of Court.

The Ball/Hunt/Schooley Inn is named in honor of three giants of California law, all  of whom are or were active members of the bar in Long Beach, California.

Our founding principle, as expressed by Clarence Hunt during the first meeting of our Inn, is the preservation of the essence of our profession -- civility and honor.

History of the Ball/Hunt/Schooley Inn of Court

During the 1990 California State Bar meeting in Monterey, CA, Long Beach attorneys Vern D. Schooley and Donald B. Caffray attended an American Inn of Court presentation and brought back the idea of a Long Beach Inn.  Enlisting the help of prominent Long Beach attorneys Joseph A. Ball and his partner Clarence S. Hunt, who enthusiastically lent their names and reputations, and with the support of leading members of the legal community, they invited local attorneys to join in the categories of Masters of the Bench and Barristers.  And on December 14, 1990, the American Inns of Court Foundation awarded Charter No. 131 to the Joseph A. Ball/Clarence S. Hunt Inn of Court in Long Beach, California.

Following twenty-five years of continuous and successful service for the legal community, the senior members of the Inn voted unanimously to add the name of Vern D. Schooley to the Inn's masthead in honor of Vern's long history of devotion, dedication, and leadership in the organization.  Thus, in 2016 the Ball/Hunt/Schooley American Inn of Court came into being.

In addition to Barristers and Masters, young attorneys (with less than 5 years experience at the bar) are invited to join the Inn as Associates or Students.  From its initial January 1991 meeting, held at what was then called the International City Club, the Ball/Hunt/Schooley Inn has had an enthusiastic following and has consistently maintained a waiting list for membership.  The venue for the Inn's pupillage meetings was soon moved to Georgio's restaurant in Long Beach, then to L'Opera Ristorante in the heart of downtown Long Beach.  Monthly meetings are currently held from September to December at L'Opera and during the spring in the Pacific Ballroom of The Reef restaurant overlooking Long Beach harbor, the Queen Mary, and the city's beautiful skyline.

The Ball/Hunt/Schooley Inn regularly holds joint meetings with the Long Beach Bar Association and with neighboring Inns of Court, sometimes in the Grand Salon of the Queen Mary.  Vern Schooley remained in the position of president of the Inn for its first 10 years, followed by Justice Fred Woods of the California Court of Appeals, the Honorable Thomas I. McKnew, Jr., Margaret Hay, and Roy Paul of the California Superior Court, and attorneys Pamela A. Swindells, Montgomery Cole, Marc D. Allmeroth, Paul Bent, and Daniel J. McDonald.

The success of the Ball/Hunt/Schooley Inn is attributable in large part to its senior membership, including at least one judge for each of its nine pupillage teams, and to its senior attorneys, many of whom have remained members since the Inn's inception.  Included among the Inn's members over the years are a former California Supreme Court Justice, a number of California Appellate Justices, a sitting California Attorney General, and a former California governor.

The Ball/Hunt/Schooley Inn meets on the second Tuesday of each month from September through May, with a year-end social meeting in June.  Through the American Inns of Court program, and in the Ball/Hunt/Schooley Inn, professionalism, ethical conduct, and civility are nurtured and maintained as the hallmarks of our country's great and unique legal system.  These ideals are effectively passed down to generations of practicing attorneys through the personal and meaningful interaction of senior attorneys and judges with younger attorneys, as we break bread and indeed have some fun together in the Ball/Hunt/Schooley American Inn of Court in Long Beach.

About Joseph A. Ball Joe Ball

Joseph A. Ball, a native of Stuart, Iowa, and the son of a country doctor, graduated in Philosophy from Creighton University and began his study of law there in 1924. Following his mother's death, he moved with his father to Los Angeles and received his law degree from the University of Southern California Law School in 1927.

Following graduation, he was sworn as a member of the California Bar (#8517) along with Clarence Hunt, who would become his life long law partner; former California governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown; Roger Traynor, who would eventually become California's Chief Justice; Ray Peters, another future justice of the California Supreme Court; and Bernard Witkin, author of what would become the most widely cited summary of California law ever published.

During the Great Depression, Ball (who had been assigned as a Deputy Los Angeles County District Attorney in Long Beach) was laid off and began private practice as a Long Beach defense attorney, often opposing his future partner Clarence Hunt (who had been sent to Long Beach to replace him in the D.A.'s office). But his future really lay in the field of oil & gas law, which had boomed along with the oil industry following the discovery of oil in the Long Beach area back in 1919. He became renowned as an expert in the field, and his practice thrived through the years of World War II.

Following the war, Clarence Hunt returned to Long Beach from his service in Naval Intelligence, and he joined with Ball to create the law firm of Ball, Hunt & Hart, which would become one of the most formidable and respected in Southern California. During his long practice, Joe Ball defended such notorious clients as Watergate figure John D. Ehrlichman, auto maker John DeLorean, and Saudi Arabian financier Adnan Khashoggi, and he was praised for his gentle but effective courtroom style and ability to deliver eloquent arguments without notes. He was twice offered a seat on the California Supreme Court, but he turned down the offers, saying he liked the practice of law too much to leave it.

Joe Ball's life and work were recognized with many distinctions and awards. He served as senior counsel on the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, he taught criminal law at four law schools, including USC, and was a former president of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the State Bar of California, he served during the 1960s and 1970s on the advisory committee on federal criminal rules and the Committee to Revise the California Constitution, and he was a member of the California Law Revision Commission, which produced the Evidence Code of California and the Tort Claims Act of California.

Another well known California lawyer, Ronald L. Olson, said Joe Ball "was the best trial lawyer in California in the 20th century. He was inspirational, brilliant. He almost had a spiritual quality about him and could evoke the imagination of those he was speaking to, whether jury, judge, or counsel." Joe's respect for the law, for his fellow lawyers, and for our system of laws, his civility and dignity, and his professional and personal integrity serve as the guiding principles for the American Inn of Court named in his honor.

About Clarence S. Hunt Clarence Hunt

Clarence S. Hunt was a third generation Californian, born in San Jose, the son of a Professor of Economics (and later Dean of the Graduate School) at the University of Southern California. He graduated from USC with a degree in Economics and went on to attend the USC Law School with his friend and classmate, and future partner, Joseph Ball, both of whom graduated and joined the California Bar in 1927.

Taking a position in the L.A. County District Attorney's office, Hunt began practice as a trial lawyer in downtown Los Angeles. During the Great Depression, however, he was re-assigned to the Long Beach office to replace Joe Ball, who had been laid off due to budget limitations, and the two future partners often found themselves opposing one another in the courtroom.

Hunt remained in the District Attorney's office in Long Beach until 1943, when he began service in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer. At the end of World War II, he sailed with President Harry Truman aboard the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Augusta during that ship's historic visit to Yalta, marking the beginning of the Cold War.

Following his service at the close of the war, Hunt returned to Long Beach to find that Joe Ball's private law practice was booming, and the two became life long partners in the firm originally known as Ball, Hunt, and Hart and eventually to become Ball, Hunt, Hart, Brown & Bearwitz. Even though Joe Ball was a confirmed liberal Democrat and Clarence Hunt a lifetime conservative Republican, the two practiced together and headed one of the most prestigious and respected law firms in Southern California for the rest of their professional lives.

Clarence Hunt was known for his civility and effectiveness in the courtroom, and his professionalism and capability were widely respected by both bench and bar. During the formative meeting of the American Inn of Court named in his honor, he delivered (without notes) the Inn's opening address, in which he called on all lawyers to save the essence of our profession -- the twin pillars of civility and honor; and our Inn strives to preserve and carry on his tradition of excellence, dignity, and respect in the practice of law.

About Vern D. SchooleySchooley Pic

Vern Schooley is a partner in the intellectual property law firm of Fulwider Patton LLP.  He received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University in 1961 and a Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego in 1966.  His practice over the past 40 years has concentrated heavily on the prosecution of patent and trademark applications, infringement causes and defense of patent, trademark infringement, trade libel and unfair competition claims in various state and federal courts throughout the United States, as well as the International Trade Commission. He has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in many court and jury patent trials involving medical procedures and devices, automotive accessories, service equipment, boats, recreational and aerodynamic vehicles, recreational equipment, water treatment devices, conveyor and cargo handling equipment, construction components and tools, as well as trademarks and trade dress matters.

Vern joined the Fulwider firm as an associate in 1966 and became a partner in 1970.  Before joining the firm he worked as a design engineer, first with Boeing Aircraft in Renton, Washington, and then at General Dynamics in San Diego.  In addition to legal and technical activities Mr. Schooley is active in mentoring young lawyers and is an avid skier, golfer and tennis player.

In 2014, Vern was selected to receive the prestigious A. Sherman Christiansen Award from the American Inns of Court Foundation (the governing body of the nationwide American Inns of Court program).  Federal Circuit Judge Richard Linn presented the award to Vern at the U.S. Supreme Court at a gala event hosted by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  Vern was recognized for his distinguished career in IP litigation and for his leadership in promoting ethics, civility, and professionalism in the practice of law.