January 13, 2022 - Trial Technology in the Tik Tok Era
This was a joint meeting with the ABOTA-Jax Chapter. Group Four presented a program on trial technology in the Tik Tok era. They began with a demonstration of trial technology. This was followed by a panel discussion with four experienced trial attorneys who discussed the benefits of trial technology, juror evidence retention, and a discussion of "dos and don'ts" of trial technology. Then, a panel of experienced members of the judiciary discussed effective and admissible ways to use technology in trial.
November 18, 2021 - Enneagram Personality Test
Group Three hosted attorney Jennifer Gibbs from Dallas, Texas, who spoke about the Enneagram personality test and how lawyers can use it to improve their daily practice of law, regardless of their practice areas. Participants used the Enneagram personality test to problem solve hypothetical scenarios that Inn members might face in their daily practices.
October 14, 2021 - DNA
Group Two presented a program about learning how at home DNA tests are solving cold cases. The speaker was the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Forensic Director Leigh Clark. Ms. Clark gave a presentation on the FDLE's Genetic Genealogy Program, its use in the investigation and prosecution of cold cases across Florida, and the interplay between solving crime and protecting privacy.
September 9, 2021 - Icebreaker Meeting
Group One presented the icebreaker meeting which consisted of an interactive Bingo game where Inn members were encouraged to interact with each other to discover interesting facts about one another.
April 8, 2021 - The Need for Second Chances
In March 2020, Georgetown University Law Center Professor Shon Hopwood was scheduled to present to our Inn in person. For obvious reasons, that presentation was put on hold. Our Inn, however, had the good fortune of having Professor Hopwood as our keynote speaker at our Inn’s annual meeting on April 8, 2021, presenting The Need for Second Chances. Local prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the First District Court of Appeal Inn were also invited to join The Chester Bedell Inn for Professor Hopwood’s presentation.
March 11, 2021 - Pleas, Contracts, and Sentencing
Our March 11, 2021, program was particularly creative, educational, historical, and informative. The program took the Inn members out of the office—virtually—and created a competitive scavenger hunt based around the notorious 1976 Jacksonville kidnapping of Sheri Jaffa by Jack Taylor McWilliams.
November 12, 2020 - A Conversation with Howard Baskin
Howard Baskin was our virtual guest speaker for our November 12, 2020 meeting, presenting, "How Lack of Professionalism and Poor Strategy Fueled the Collapse of The Tiger King." Mr. Baskin described Mr. Exotic as an uncontrollable client and witness when he was represented, and his own worst enemy when he represented himself. It was a fascinating and detailed account of legal events, with a focus on how lack of professionalism was a significant factor in Exotic’s downfall. In preparation for the virtual meeting, members were encouraged to watch an episode or two of the "Tiger King." To further enhance the experience, members were provided with the recipe for Tiger Tail Cocktail.
January 9, 2020 - Criminal Podcast
On January 9, 2020, the Inn heard from Lauren Spohrer, co-creator and producer of the award-winning podcast "Criminal," one of the most popular podcasts in the world. The program focused on how the podcast started, and (in a podcast or a trial) what makes a compelling story, how to captivate an audience, and how to distill complex legal concepts in a persuasive and entertaining way.
April 11, 2019 - Simon Tam & The Slants
On April 11, 2019, the Inn welcomed Simon Tam, leader of an Asian-American band named “The Slants.” As the band gained fame, Tam sought trademark protection for the band’s name (an attempt to reclaim a common slur against Asians). Repeatedly denied by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Tam litigated for more than seven years, before being vindicated by the U.S. Supreme Court in a decision which decided that the Disparagement Clause of the Lanham Act violated the First Amendment and was therefore unconstitutional. Tam presented his story with humor and passion as he conveyed the impact of bias and discrimination against Asian-Americans and the difficulties faced by litigants.
March 28, 2019 - Cross Talk
This program was prepared by local lawyers and centered on problems of cross-generational communication in the law office. Inn members were introduced to the terminology and (supposed) characteristics of generational cohorts: the Silent Generation (born before 1946); the Baby Boomers (1946-1964); Generation X (1965-1980); the Millennials (1981-1996); and Gen Z (born after 1996). A panel of associates, barristers and masters discussed how clear legal communication can be enhanced across generational lines.
2017 - 2018
In September of 2017, Group Fowler presented a program entitled, "Test Your Inn IQ." They provided clues about various Inn members that others had to guess. This was a great way to learn about other members of the Inn.
In October of 2017, the guest speaker was Cleta Mitchell, a partner and political law attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of Foley & Lardner. Ms. Mitchell gave a thought‐provoking presentation on federal election laws and the IRS Tea Party scandal.
The November 2017 program gave us an amusing and humbling education in Bitcoin. The program started with a game based on the Price‐is‐Right where “contestants” had to guess how much a cup of coffee in 2011, a California attorney hour in 2016, and 5 kilos of cocaine in 2013 cost at the time in Bitcoin. Prizes for the winning contestants included chocolate “bitcoins.” The table topics had members discuss the cost of a pizza in 2010 in Bitcoin. Following dinner, Professor Shawn Bayern of the Florida State University College of Law explained bitcoin—a sort‐of “Bitcoin 101”—and our member presenters discussed, “Bitcoin: What is it? How is it regarded? Why do we care?”
In January of 2018, upon learning United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer would be part of the University of North Florida’s Presidential Lecture Series and discuss his book, "The Court and The World, American Law and the New Global Realities," our tireless Cory Hodak and Master Crystal Broughan orchestrated our entire January meeting around the event. This program was put together so well and the effort so extraordinary that it easily won our Inn’s award for best program. Before the fireside chat, members gathered in a “book club” style format to discuss the book. Group Breyer selected Jacksonville Area Legal Aid to receive the winning charitable contribution, and all members of Group Breyer were treated to a free cocktail at the annual meeting. Each attendee received a free copy of the book.
Our February 2018 program was presented by our mystery legal luminary group and after evaluating many worthy candidates, the group selected Louise Rebecca Pinnell. In 1989, Ms. Pinnell became the first woman admitted to the Florida Bar and she practiced railroad law in Jacksonville until the 1950s. Prior to the “reveal” and short presentation on Ms. Pinnell’s life and work, factual hints at the mystery person were rotated on a power point during cocktails and a short biography was placed in an envelope on all tables. After dinner, Special Agent John Wood took us on an adventure into the deep web and dark web, how they work, why the dark web exists, and all of the “products” available. The pupilage group then discussed legal issues and cases involving the deep/dark web.
Our guest speaker for the April 2018 Annual Banquet was the very charming and witty Vivian Robinson QC from London. We received him with a traditional British evening and fare, Bobbies and oxtail soup! After dinner Barrister Robinson treated us to an amusing presentation, “London’s Inns of Court and The Wit of the Wig.” He also presented a kind invitation from the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple to all members of our Inn to visit when in London.
2016 - 2017
The April 2017 Annual Banquet featured keynote speaker Zachary Fardon, immediate past United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Mr. Fardon gave a powerful and passionate presentation concerning his open letter of resignation to President Trump which quickly went viral on-line. He also shared his thoughts on some of the key reasons behind the Chicago Crime rate, and what needed to be done to cause real change in Chicago.
2014 - 2015
The Joint Meeting was held on February 24, 2015. The Annual Banquet was held on April 9, 2015, and the speaker was Morris Dees with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
2012 - 2013
We began September with a new member orientation and, for all members, overviews of the history and the purpose of the American Inns of Court, of our mentor and outreach programs, and of our schedule for the year. Our October program featured Tom Spahn, Esquire, the nation’s foremost presenter on legal ethics and professionalism. This dynamic and interactive program used hypotheticals to explore ethical situations that may arise when interacting with the judiciary, from the duty to disclose unfavorable facts, case law, and unethical client behavior, to the appropriate level of social interaction with judges. Our November program featured the Honorable Charlie Cofer, a State County Judge, who discussed the fascinating history of the courthouses in Duval County, Florida. Our January program featured James A. Kowalski, new Executive Director of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA). Mr. Kowalski led a discussion about the need for pro bono work by attorneys and the societal and personal benefits to be gained by such service. Our March program featured a distinguished panel of Inn members: Buddy Schulz, John DeVault, Julie Hackenberry, James Burke, and the Honorable Timothy Corrigan. Michael Dewberry moderated the panel. He presented the panel with several hypothetical civil and criminal scenarios in which litigators encountered clients, witnesses, and others who lied or stretched the truth. The presentation prompted lively discussion and debate from the panel and audience. Our Annual Banquet in April featured His Honour Judge Jeremy Nigel Donne RD QC, Circuit Judge to the South Eastern Circuit for England and Wales based at Harrow Crown Court, and a Master in the Middle Temple Inn. Judge Donne spoke about the organization, civility, and professionalism of English Inns of Court. The presentation, which included a speech and PowerPoint, focused on the mentoring process for new barristers and solicitors. The presentation also focused on the maintenance of civility and professionalism in the English justice system. Other topics included the history of the English justice system and the evolving roles of barristers and solicitors.
2011 - 2012
Our first program was an orientation for our new members as well as a presentation to refresh all of our members of the history, the purpose, and the mission of the American Inns of Court and our Inn. We began with quotes from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Foreword to The American Inns of Court, Reclaiming a Noble Profession. We reviewed the English Inns, the mission and Professional Creed of the American Inns, the purposes of the local Inns, the history of our Inn, and the reasons for the American Inns of Court. Our second program was a one-half hour public outreach program on a local television station. In the program, members of the pupilage group took various amendments to the U. S. Constitution, and explained and discussed them. During the year we had programs on practical legal skills with an emphasis on ethics, civility, and professionalism. The program on Avoiding Legalese was instructive and entertaining, and included a slide presentation and a panel of Judges. We held our final meeting and Annual Banquet at a time when all of the Judges of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals were in town. Judge Susan H. Black was taking Senior Status on that Court and a portrait ceremony was planned, and the Circuit Judges were meeting in Jacksonville. Our Annual Banquet was held the evening of the portrait ceremony, and all of the Circuit Judges attended. We arranged for members of our Inn to host each Circuit Judge, bring them to the dinner, accompany them at the dinner, and take them to their hotel. That evening we honored Judge Black, and recognized her contributions and accomplishments for the American Inns of Court, and for the Judiciary.
2005 - 2006
Group 2 presented a program entitled, "Can You Do Or Say That In Court?" They presented three vignettes relating to appropriate and ethical courtroom behavior and argument.
2004 - 2005
The Annual Banquet was held on March 31, 2005.
2003 - 2004
On September 11, 2003, Group One provided a tour of the new federal courthouse. The tour consisted of stops at the U.S. Marshals Service, the Clerk's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office, a judge's chambers, and a courtroom. The evening concluded with cocktails and dinner at Sterlings. Other programs during this Inn year consisted of the Do's and Don'ts of Closing Arguments; Professionalism, Ethics, and Sanctions; a program discussing the respective rights of terrorists and military combatants in the federal system versus the military tribunal system; and a public outreach program. The annual banquet was held on March 25, 2004.