History of the Porter County Inn of Court

The Porter County Inn conducted an organizational meeting May 25, 1993 under the guidance of the Honorable Howard T. Markey, the Dean of the John Marshall School of Law. Judge Markey is one of the founders of the Inn movement in the United States.

Initiating the Inn concept in Porter County was Thomas Wombwell, a solo law practitioner in Valparaiso. Thom, a participant in the Valparaiso University School of Law Cambridge England 1991 summer program, visited the London Inner Temple Inn. Returning home to Valparaiso and curious about the Inn movement in the United States, Thom sought out Dean Edward Gaffney for information. Dean Gaffney, supporting the Inn concept, provided Thom with written information about the Inn movement in the United States and material on how formation of an Inn was accomplished. Armed with this information, Thom, at the April 1993, Porter County Bar Association meeting brought up the Inn issue for consideration.

Judge Thomas Webber, independent of Thom Wombwell had been studying the Inn of Court concept, supported the motion that the Porter County Bar Association sponsor a Porter County Inn. The motion was approved. Judge Webber and Thomas Wombwell were appointed to a committee along with Ronald Nelson, Donald Evans, Del Hoeppner, Dolores Aylesworth and Heidi Jark to determine lawyer interest and if warranted, to plan an Inn organizational meeting. "Seed" money was also provided if needed.

The Committee chaired by Judge Webber determined the bar of northwest Indiana had a genuine interest in the formation of an Inn of Court. The committee then proceeded to coordinate an organizational meeting. Dean Gaffney assisted the committee by arranging for Judge Markey's appearance and guidance at the organizational meeting which was held in Judge Webber's courtroom on May 25, 1993. Subsequent to the organizational meeting a charter was obtained chartering the Porter County Inn as the third Inn in Indiana and the 209th Inn in the United States. The first meeting of the newly organized Inn was held on September 8, 1993 also in Judge Webber's courtroom.