In early 1988, Joryn Jenkins contacted Peter Grilli (both Tampa lawyers) to ask for an application for membership in the newly-organized Ferguson-White Inn. Peter informed Joryn that there were no vacancies in the Inn, but that he would be delighted to advise her with regard to organizing another. She also discussed the concept with one of her former law school professors, Sherman Cohn, the President of the American Inns of Court Foundation (and father of another of Tampa’s practitioners, Ron Cohn).
Former Circuit Chief Judge J. Clifford Cheatwood agreed to head up the new Inn’s organizing committee, and then Circuit Judge Susan Bucklew volunteered to serve on it, as well. At the Fourth Annual Meeting of the American Inns of Court in Washington, D.C., Inn LII was awarded its charter by the American Inns of Court Foundation. Shortly thereafter, the Inn took the name of the illustrious Florida jurist Justice William Glenn Terrell, and in September 1988 the Inn held its first dinner meeting.
Although American Inns of Court are permitted to have a specialized focus, and many these days do, the original focus of the Cheatwood Inn was on litigation, civil or criminal, federal or state, administrative or appellate, bankruptcy or family law; any issues implicated in litigation were fair game and this is still so. Of course, the issues involved in litigation these days include alternative dispute mechanisms and appropriate interaction with the media, the grievance process and the impact of computers in the courtroom. The definition is wide-ranging.
In 2005, the Inn changed its name to the J. Clifford Cheatwood Inn, in honor of one of its founding members and former Circuit Chief Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.