Membership in the Barney Masterson American Inn of Court

The Barney Masterson American Inn of Court generally has between 65 and 75 active members, divided into three classifications. Masters include lawyers with fifteen or more years of experience and judges of various courts. Barristers include lawyers with more than four but less than fourteen years of experience. Associates include lawyers with less than four years of experience. Students attending law school, or "pupils", are also admitted to the Inn on a limited basis through a partnership with Stetson University College of Law.

In addition to its active members, the Barney Masterson Inn has also created a classification for Inactive Sustaining Members. These individuals must have been members of the Barney Masterson Inn for a period of three years prior to becoming Inactive Sustaining Members. Inactive Sustaining Members are not members of the American Inn of Court, but are members locally of the Barney Masterson Inn. Inactive Sustaining Members who are also masters may attend masters meetings. All Inactive Sustaining Members may attend two dinner meetings per year, the Barney-B-Q and the year end banquet.

While members are expected and encouraged to continue their membership in the Inn for a number of years, a portion of the membership of the Inn is expected to change from year to year. Masters are encouraged to continue their participation in the Inn indefinitely; however, the Inn grows and flourishes through both the strength of its established members and the addition of new members to rejuvenate the Inn. Some members will choose to become Inactive Sustaining Members for a period and then return as active members. Others will leave the Inn and return years later. The Inn of Court is a living organization that changes and grows with its ever-changing membership. The participation of each and every Inn member is crucial to the livelihood of the Inn.

Each member is selected for a one-year term. Members are selected each year through the application process by the Executive Committee. Renewal of membership is contingent upon each member's level of participation in the Inn the previous year and that member's commitment to the Inn.

Selection of Members

Beginning in January of each year, the Executive Committee encourages current members of the Barney Masterson Inn to renew their membership for another year. The Executive Committee then begins soliciting nominations for new members and begins accepting applications for membership from prospective new members on or about March 1 of each year. New members are identified through current members of the Inn, local judges, and other respected members of the legal community.

In the Summer, when the pool of returning members and new applicants has been identified, the Executive Committee selects the membership for the following year. Consideration is given to the following factors in the selection process: level of participation and commitment to the Inn (for current members only), diversity (of practice area, nature of firm affiliation, sex, gender, race, etc), classification of membership (for balance between the three primary levels of membership), interest and involvement in developing personal professional skills and improving the judicial system, level of interest in the Inn (for new members), and ability to fulfill a commitment to the Inn.

Students are chosen by the Stetson University College of Law based on the applicants' qualifications giving consideration to the student's ability to participate fully in the Inn, academic performance, participation in extracurricular and community activities, and professionalism.

Bareny Masterson Inn Governance

Governance of the Barney Masterson Inn is entrusted to the officers and the Executive Committee. The officers include the Judicial Co-President, Attorney Co-President, President(s)-Elect, Immediate Past President(s), Secretary, and Treasurer. In addition to the officers, members of the Executive Committee include the Executive Director, three at-large committee members, and the Counselor. One of the at-large committee members will serve as Mentor Liaison and one will serve as Pupilage Group/CLE Liaison, with the selections made at the discretion of the President.

The Executive Committee nominates a slate of officers each spring. The slate of officers is presented to the masters at a masters meeting for approval. Officers serve a one year term and are eligible for successive terms. Inn members are encouraged to contact Executive Committee members with regard to any questions or comments concerning any aspect of the Inn or suggestions regarding the Inn.

The masters of the Inn are entrusted with the power to make decisions concerning the governance of the Inn. Masters may present proposed changes with regard to Inn policy and must approve significant changes to the operation of the Inn. The Executive Committee will submit proposed changes in policy or procedure to the masters at masters meetings for approval and discussion. The masters are expected to provide guidance and direction to the Barney Masterson Inn.

Barney Masterson Inn Pupillage Groups

The Barney Masterson Inn is organized annually into pupilage groups, a structure basic to the English Inns of Court. Each pupilage group is composed of a judge, one or more masters, a number of barristers and associates, and one or two pupils.

Barney Masterson Inn Attendance Policy

All active members are expected to attend and to participate in the Inn's meetings and functions throughout the year. The Inn recognizes that judges and lawyers must occasionally be absent, but requests advance notice. Members who are unable to attend a particular meeting must, therefore, inform their pupilage group leader prior to the meeting of the reason for their absence. Absences without advanced notice are unexcused. Two or more unexcused absences will have a significant bearing on whether a member is re-invited for membership in a succeeding year.

Some masters may choose to "go inactive." Inactive Sustaining Masters must still pay partial dues. Inactive Sustaining Masters may attend two of the monthly dinner meetings without cost. They are also invited to attend the Barney-B-Q and end of year banquet.

Barney Masterson Inn Guest Policy

The Inn's programs are primarily for the benefit of its members. However, members may invite guests from time to time. Members who wish to invite guests must inform the Executive Director in advance of the meeting of their guests' names. They must also agree to be responsible for the cost of the guests' meals, which for 2011 is $25.00. Members may pay for their guest prior to or at the meeting in question.

Continuing Legal Education Credit

  • The Inn is a CLE provider.
  • Members may earn CLE credit, including ethics credit, by attending and participating in the Inn's programs.
  • The number of credit hours available for participating in or attending a program is one hour.
  • Members and guests desiring to obtain CLE credit must document their attendance at each program.
  • The CLE fees are included in members' dues.

Barney Masterson Meetings & Programs

Although each Executive Committee designs its Inn year differently, the program year usually begins in August with a meeting of the pupilage group leaders. Thereafter, the Inn as a whole gathers eight times a year on the Fourth Thursday of every month, except for the Stetson Distinguished Speaker banquet, and the Barney-B-Q, In addition, the Inn meets for its End of the Year Banquet in June. Meetings are held at Bascom's Chophouse, unless otherwise noted. Each meeting begins with a cocktail reception with a cash bar from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Following the cocktail reception, there are announcements and introductions. Dinner follows beginning no later than 6:30 p.m. At 7:00 p.m. sharp, one of the Inn's pupilage groups presents a fifty to sixty minute program dealing with a practical aspect of the practice of law. The program should last no longer than one hour. At 8:00 p.m., further announcements shall be made and adjournment will take place by 8:10 p.m.

The programs are the heart of the monthly meetings. They involve practical legal skills with an emphasis on ethics, civility, and professionalism in lawyering. They are generally comprised of a demonstration or presentation of principles, skills, techniques, and relationships involved in trial or appellate court proceedings or in activities preliminary to courtroom appearances, although there is no set format. The programs also incorporate opportunities for critique and discussion.

Another crucial aspect of the Inn's focus is the individual pupilage group meetings, organized by the pupilage group leader. These meetings should take place monthly at breakfast, lunch, dinner, or after work, both in preparation for that pupilage group's demonstration and simply to