Welcome to The Elwood L. Thomas American Inn of Court website
The Elwood L. Thomas American Inn of Court is a welcoming, engaging, and passionate community of judges, law professors, and lawyers in Jefferson City, Columbia, and the surrounding Mid-Missouri area.
The Inn is one of 379 chartered American Inns of Court in the United States. It was established in 2007 by judges from the Missouri Supreme Court, a judge from the Eighth Circuit, trial judges from Columbia and Jefferson City, members of the University of Missouri School of Law, and leading trial attorneys from Columbia and Jefferson City.
Its mission is to inspire the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education, and mentoring.
The Elwood L. Thomas Inn meets approximately once a month during the academic year. The meetings feature meals and engaging programs on litigation and professional responsibility topics that are presented by smaller "pupillage teams" that consist of a mix of judges, law professors, senior attorneys, junior attorneys, and law student members of the Inn. Meetings rotate between Columbia, usually at the University of Missouri School of Law, and Jefferson City, sometimes at the Missouri Supreme Court or the U.S. District Courthouse. Pupillage teams are encouraged to meet outside of the monthly meetings on an informal basis.
The Inn's namesake, Elwood L. Thomas, was a beloved professor at the University of Missouri School of Law from 1965 to 1978, a law partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, and a judge on the Missouri Supreme Court from 1991 until his death in July 1995. He was remembered as one of the state's best legal minds and as "a gentle legal giant." In 1996, MU Law School Dean Timothy Heinsz wrote:
Elwood was the quintessential lawyer. He possessed a keen legal mind and was a true advocate in the finest sense. He was devoted to his profession and maintained a sense of duty and passion for justice. Most of all he was considerate and cared about people, especially his family whom he loved so. A Tribute to Judge Elwood L. Thomas, 61 Mo.L.Rev. 1 (1996).
More information about Elwood L. Thomas' remarkable life and devotion to his profession can be found at the "More About Our Inn's Namesake" link below. His official judicial biography can be found here.
The American Inns of Court system was conceived by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and is modeled on the Inns of Court in England and Ireland. The first American Inn of Court was founded in 1980. For more information about the American Inns of Court, please click here.