History of the First District Appellate American Inn of
The First District Appellate American Inn of Court became
a chartered organization in June of 2008, with the help of an
Organizing Committee which included such esteemed members as Judge
James R. Wolf, Judge Peter D. Webster, Judge Charles J. Kahn, and
Judge William A. Van Nortwick.
While there were numerous Trial Inns throughout the country, the
First District Court of Appeal American Inn was only the third
Appellate Inn established in the United States. The Organizing
Committee envisioned the Inn as a platform for bettering appellate
professionalism in the First District, while simultaneously
bringing together lawyers, specializing in the appellate arena, to
encourage the growth of professional relationships. In addition,
one of the Committee's foremost goals included bringing together
judges, experienced appellate lawyers, law professors, less
experienced lawyers, and students allowing for mentoring
opportunities reaching from the most experienced down to the newest
members of the profession.
The Organizing Committee's visions have become a reality. The
members of the current Inn meet often and the established mentoring
relationships are furthered through meetings with small teams, each
headed by an appellate judge. The Inn's success has encouraged
further participation in the state of Florida, which now houses
three appellate Inns.
First District Appellate American Inn of Court
The First District Inn program year begins in September and ends
in April. Monthly meetings are typically held at the First District
Court of Appeal building located at 2000 Drayton Drive,
Tallahassee. One meeting per year is held in conjunction with the
E. Robert Williams American Inn of Court at a location in
Meetings are comprised of two parts. First, a designated Inn
"team" will present a "program." Second, the members of the Inn
will gather in the Court Commons for dinner.
An Inn representative will contact each member by e-mail
approximately two weeks before each meeting. The e-mail will
indicate the meeting location, date, and time. Members are required
to RSVP for each meeting according to the instructions in the
1. Reporting for Meetings
When Inn meetings are held at the First District Court of Appeal,
members should report to the court's front entrance to pass through
security. At that time, each member should retrieve his or her name
tag, which an Inn representative will be distributing at the door.
The name tags must be returned to the same representative at the
end of the meeting.
For the annual Inn meeting in Jacksonville, members will receive
instructions by e-mail regarding where to meet. Group
transportation will be arranged in advance from Tallahassee to
Members must wear business attire (business suits) to all monthly
Inn members may bring guests to the monthly meetings. To RSVP your
guest, please follow the instructions on the e-mail setting forth
the details of each meeting.
A. Participation in Monthly Programs
At the start of the Inn year, each member will be assigned to a
"team" under the tutelage of a different appellate court judge.
Each team assumes the responsibility for presenting one program and
sponsoring one meal during the Inn year. The schedule will be
staggered so that the same team will not be responsible for
providing the program and meal at the same meeting.
Members are required to meet with their teams and take an active
role in preparing the program. Responsibilities vary from preparing
audio visual aids to presenting a mock oral argument.
B. Participation in Inn Pro Bono Project
Members are encouraged to participate in the Inn's pro bono
project. Each member must make a concerted effort to provide ten
hours of appellate pro bono services to clients. As will be
described below, members can research pro bono opportunities
through the Inn's website, and will also receive e-mail blasts
listing different opportunities. At the end of the Inn year,
members should report their hours to their team leader.
Members are expected to attend each meeting during the Inn year.
Members are required to sign an attendance sheet for each
Members can indicate their unavailability by responding to the
RSVP e-mail sent before each meeting. A member may change their
RSVP at any time prior to the meeting. A member may not skip the
meeting if his or her team is responsible for that evening's
If a member misses more than three meetings, his or her membership
may not be renewed the following year.
Members must pay annual dues before the first meeting of each Inn
year. An Inn representative will send each member an e-mail with
the dues amount. Dues are calculated on an annual basis depending
on each member's status.
E. Contact Information
Members should notify their team leader of any change in mailing
address, phone number, or e-mail address.
Pro Bono Service
As stated above, each Inn member should strive to provide
ten hours of pro bono appellate services during the course of each
Inn year. While this hourly requirement is flexible, it should be
each member's goal to meet it.
A. Where to Find Pro Bono Opportunities
The pro bono services should be in the form of appellate legal
work. Members can inquire and accept pro bono opportunities in two
ways. The first way is to access the portal on the Inn's website
for "Pro Bono Opportunities." By following this link, members will
see a list of various pro bono services in North Florida. Members
may follow links to the home page for each service, where they may
reserach opportunities. The second way is to check the periodic
e-mail blasts sent by Inn representatives. These e-mails will
contain a brief description of current appellate cases which
require pro bono services.
B. Reporting Hours
Members should keep track of the approximate number of hours spent
on each case. At the end of the Inn year, each member should report
his or her number of pro bono hours to their team leader.
C. Law Clerks and Law Students
Law clerk and law student members are prohibited from providing
direct pro bono services to clients. This does not preclude them
from participating. Law clerks may satisfy the hourly requirement
by compiling the brief descriptions included in the e-mail blasts.
Law students may satisfy their hourly requirement by providing
legal research for member attorneys already assigned to active pro