Howard Middle School Project
American Inns of Court 2014 Best Special Project Award Recipient
The Howard Middle School Project was created and designed to instill a sense of personal ethics in middle school students. With the cooperation of the principal and faculty, the Project had three phases, based in part on the types of offenses seen in the juvenile court system: 1) Inn members designed a five page questionnaire with open ended and multiple choice questions. The goal was to determine the students' attitudes about ethics, such as whether the student would steal at all or only under certain circumstances; 2) after administering the questionnaire, a local judge, local hearing officer and law student engaged the students in a discussion about the results, using real life examples to demonstrate the consequences of their choices; and 3) the students experienced a full day of court activities, including an actual trial. With funding provided by the Inn, the Project was a huge success and has repeated yearly since 2010.
The Howard Middle School Project was recognized as the best Special Project for 2014 by The American Inns of Court Foundation. The Foundation's Awards Program encourages excellence and creativity and endeavors to expand the vision of the American Inns of Court beyond the Foundation and the individual American Inns of Court. The Foundation's Awards Program is a respected symbol of the American Inns of Court movement and the American legal profession.
The Special Project Award has stringent requirements that must be met by a submitting Inn. A special project must involve a substantive activity or enterprise developed by the Inn that may not be just for Inn members but is also aimed at the local legal community. The special project must be relevant to the mission of the American Inns of Court, i.e., foster excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility and legal skills. Special projects must convey an educational experience, teaching people in the local community about the Inns or the law. Finally, the special project should include preparation material, background information and other supporting materials or handouts.
Out of all the special projects submitted throughout the United States, the Howard Middle School Project was recognized as the best in 2014.
The George C. Young American Inn Mentoring Program
The George C. Young American Inn of Court initially commenced its formal mentoring program in its 2010-2011 year. This program has four major goals for new attorneys and law students: 1) shorten their learning curve for being effective, practicing attorneys, 2) impart, imprint and model the highest professionalism and ethical practice standards under the Florida Bar Rules, 3) enable the protégé to have career lasting skills and tools, and 4) encourage the mentees to pay such lessons forward to other attorneys and law students. The mentor and protégé must meet regularly to discuss legal, ethical, and professionalism issues that arise out of the everyday practice of law. The mentor is also available via telephone and e-mail should the protégé encounter unscheduled problems or questions.
The George C. Young American Inn of Court 2011-2012 mentoring program began November, 2012 and matched fourteen (14) Master, Benchers and Barrister members of the Inn with fourteen (14) protégé attorneys. The less experienced attorneys ranged from recent law school graduates to those with up to approximately six (6) years of practice. Several upper level law students were also involved. Mentors ranged from practicing attorneys with many years of practice in all areas of the law to state and federal judges.
One protégé graduate described his experience as "very productive", noting he received "good advice" and developed a relationship with his mentor that he believes will transcend the one year mentoring period. We certainly hope so.
Domestic Violence Outreach Community Service Project
The Domestic Violence Outreach Community Service Project was started in our 2014-2015 Inn year. The Domestic Violence Community Outreach Project works within the legal community to improve services to victim/survivors of domestic violence and their families. The members of this project engage in community outreach programs, training for attorneys to represent survivors of domestic violence, and provide information and help to those impacted by domestic violence.