The Patrick E. Higginbotham American Inn of Court, chartered by the American Inns of Court Foundation in 1988 as the Dallas Inn of Court LVI, promotes professionalism, ethics, civility, and excellence among legal professionals who focus on litigation. The Center for American and International Law has sponsored the Higginbotham Inn since the Inn was formed.
The Hon. Patrick E. Higginbotham of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was instrumental in the Inn’s formation and served as its first President. In January 1996, the Inn changed its name to honor Judge Higginbotham.
The Inn’s members include federal and state judges, lawyers from firms of all sizes, in-house counsel, federal and state prosecutors, public defenders, law professors, and legal-aid lawyers from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The common denominator is that each is an outstanding member of the legal community interested in litigation
The Inn has four categories of members, based on their legal experience – Masters of the Bench, Barristers, Associates, and Pupils. The membership term for Masters of the Bench is unlimited; Barristers participate for three years, and Associates have a one-year term. The inn also invites several students from DFW-area law schools to participate in the Inn as Pupils. The Election of new members is held prior to the beginning of a new term in September. Each member is assigned to one of several pupilage groups to promote collegiality and mentoring, critical parts of the Inn’s mission.
The Inn meets monthly from September through May. In addition to an opportunity to socialize with colleagues, the regular meetings typically include an educational program presented by a pupilage group that qualifies for CLE credit. Pupilage groups also meet informally on a regular basis.