Formation of the Prettyman-Leventhal Inn
In 1987, Judge Michel Levant of the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission called Chief Judge B. Paul Cotter, Jr. of the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission to enthusiastically describe a briefing he'd
seen on the American Inns of Court movement. Judge Cotter decided
to form an Inn concentrating on Administrative Law, and he and
Judge Levant then recruited Washington lawyers Gerald Charnoff
(managing partner of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge), Eldon
Crowell (founding partner of Crowell and Moring), Sally Katzen
(partner in Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering and then Chair of the
Administrative Law Section of the American Bar Association), sole
practitioner John T. Miller (a past Chair of the ABA Administrative
Law Section), and Professor Daniel Kane of George Washington
University. The concept of the American Inns of Court held such
strong universal appeal that a five minute telephone conversation
was all that was needed to secure commitments to this new
The Inn's Charter was presented by Supreme Court Associate Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor to Judge Cotter at the Annual Meeting of the
American Inns of Court on June 10, 1988 in Washington D.C.
Prettyman Leventhal became the 57th Inn chartered, only the second
specialty Inn ever formed, and the first ever dealing solely with
The 18 original Masters of the Bench first met in the Ceremonial
Courtroom of the Federal Circuit on June 27, 1988. Judge Thomas P.
Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, a
member of the Charles Fahy Inn, delivered the keynote address. The
Masters then elected the Inn's first officers and Executive
Committee: President: Judge Cotter; Counselor: Mr. Miller;
Secretary-Treasurer: Professor Kane; Executive Committee:Messrs.
Charnoff and Crowell, Ms. Katzen, and Judge Levant. Judge Jean S.
Cooper (HUD Board of Contract Appeals) chaired the Administration
Committee, Judge John Kern (D.C. Court of Appeals) chaired the
Membership Committee, and Edward J. Grenier, Jr. (a partner in
Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan) chaired the Program
Thereafter, Ms. Katzen recruited Supreme Court Associate Justice
Antonin Scalia as an Honorary Member and Judge Ruth Ginsburg of the
D.C. Circuit as an active member. Judge Steven Williams of the D.C.
Circuit joined with Judge Ginsburg. Judge Cotter recruited then
D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Patricia Wald as an Honorary Member and
Judge Pauline Newman of the Federal Circuit as an active member.
All of them attended and actively participated in every meeting
that first year, and Justice Scalia spoke at the yearend Annual
Dinner Dance held at the National Press Club, a venue arranged by
Master Betty Murphy, a partner in Baker & Hostetler. At that
dinner Judge Cotter presented plaques to members of the families of
Judges Prettyman and Leventhal in recognition and thanks for their
seminal influence in Administrative Law. Judge Prettyman's son, E.
Barrett Prettyman, a partner in Hogan and Hartson and noted U.S.
Supreme Court advocate, became a member of the Inn.
The First Decade
The following year Chief Judge Wald was the Annual Dinner
speaker. Justice Scalia has spoken on subsequent occasions. Then
D.C. Circuit Judge Clarence Thomas was an active member briefly,
and the inn's membership has included William Allen of Covington
and Burling, District Court Judge Thomas Hogan, and National Labor
Relations Board Chief Administrative Law Judge David Davidson. A
grant from Carroll Gilliam (a partner in Grove, Jaskiewicz, Gilliam
and Cobert), enabled Prettyman Leventhal to offer scholarships to
third year law school students who otherwise might not be able to
afford to accept an invitation to join the inn. For the first two
years the inn drew all its student members from George Washington
University. Thereafter, pupils were accepted from American,
Catholic, Georgetown, George Mason, Howard and the University of
the District of Columbia Law Schools.
The schedule and content of meetings held that first year set the
pattern used by the Inn today. Subjects addressed included "Ex
Parte Contacts With Agencies and Congress," "Managing the Complex
Case," "Appellate Presentation of an Administrative Case,"
"Discovery Abuses and Sanctions: Judicial Limitations," "Examining
(Elusive) Experts," and "Litigation Technology: Use and Procedural
Evidentiary Problems." Then, as now, the monthly symposium and
dinner were held at historic Tayloe House on Lafayette Square
before adjourning to Courtroom 3 of the Federal Circuit for the
Contributions to the American Inn of Court Movement
Prettyman Leventhal Inn members have played a larger role in the
American Inns of Court movement, contributing to its mission to
support and create new inns. Judge Cotter, elected a trustee in
1990, created the blueprint for both the annual fund raising effort
of the American Inns of Court Foundation and the current Board of
Trustee's structure (almost doubling the number of trustees to 30
and adding regional and appointed public trustees). He created and
chaired the first Metropolitan D.C. Council of Inns and chaired the
Foundation's International Programs Committee.
Judge Jean Cooper Chaired two Annual Meetings of the American Inns
of Court, was also elected to the Board of Trustees, and was solely
responsible for the appointment of the first international member
of the American Inns of Court Foundation, former Prime Minister of
England, Margaret Thatcher.
Finally Master Nancy Skancke has chaired the D.C. Metropolitan
Council of the American Inns of Court for several years to the
great benefit of the District of Columbia's 14 inns.
Prettyman Leventhal has won several awards, including the first
annual fund raising award for raising the most money of any inn in
the country in 1992. At least three Prettyman Leventhal educational
programs have won national awards and have been included in the
American Inns of Court Programming Manual for use by other Inns.
Only two other inns have had so many award winning programs