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The Richard S. Rodney Inn of Court was founded in 1985 - the 17th American Inn of Court  chartered in the United States - with United States District Judge James L. Latchum as its first  President. It is named in honor of Judge Richard S. Rodney, whose biographical sketch follows.

Richard Seymour Rodney was born October 10, 1882 in New Castle, Delaware, where he resided until his death on December 22, 1963. He was descended from George Read, signer of the Declaration of Independence as well as of the United States Constitution, and from numerous early Delaware lawyers and judges. He had a lifelong love of people, history, and the law. He served for 24 years (1922-1946) as an Associate Judge of the State of Delaware and for 17 years (1946-1963) as a United States District Court Judge for the District of Delaware.

He was also involved in many aspects of town and State service. He served on the Vestry of Immanuel Church in New Castle for 57 years, was a founder of St. Andrew's School, was Mayor of New Castle for three terms, served as a Trustee of the New Castle Common for over half a century, and was President of both the New Castle Historical Society and the Historical Society of Delaware.

However, mere recitation of his judicial service and other accomplishments does not paint the complete picture of Judge Rodney. Speaking on behalf of the Delaware Bar Association, William S. Potter, Esquire said of Judge Rodney at proceedings in his memory in the Delaware Supreme Court on January 31, 1964 (269 A.2d 7):

"His quick and incisive mind, his deep human understanding, his superb sense of justice, left an enduring imprint on the product of his Court. Over and beyond these qualities were the integrity, gentleness and compassion with which he discharged his judicial duties."

Chief Judge John Biggs, Jr. of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals perhaps summed up the feelings of the Bench and Bar of Delaware when, at that same proceeding, he said:

"All departed judges belong to the past. Only a few - a very few of them - belong to posterity. Judge Rodney is one of that small group. His face, his figure, his graciousness, his generosity, his wisdom, will not be forgotten by those of us who knew him. But what of those members of our bench and bar who will follow us and who will never know him?"

History of the American Inns of Court

The American Inns of Court concept was the product of a discussion in the late 1970's among the United States' members of the Anglo American exchange of lawyers and judges, including Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit 3. Clifford Wallace. Chief Justice Burger subsequently invited Rex E. Lee (then Dean of the J. Reuben Clark School of Law at Brigham Young University and later United States Solicitor General) and Dallin Oaks (then president of Brigham Young University and later Justice of the Utah Supreme Court) to test the idea.

At the suggestio
n of Rex Lee, a pilot program was entrusted to Senior United States District Court Judge A. Sherman Christensen, who honed the idea into a feasible concept. The first American Inn of Court was founded in 1980 in the Provo/Salt Lake City area of Utah, and included law students from Brigham Young University. Within the next three years, additional American Inns formed in Utah, Mississippi, Hawaii, New York, and Washington, D. C.

In 1983, Chief Justice Burger created a committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States to explore whether the American Inn concept was of value to the administration of justice and, if so, whether there should be a national organization to promote, establish and assist American Inns, and promote the goals of legal excelle

nce, civility, professionalism and ethics on a national level. The committee reported to the Judicial Conference affirmatively on the two questions and proposed the creation of the American Inns of Court Foundation. The Judicial Conference approved the reports and, thus, endorsed the American Inn concept and the formation of a national structure. In 1985, the American Inns of Court Foundation was formally organized.

Our Mission

The Mission of the American Inns of Court is to foster excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills for judges, lawyers, academicians, and students of the law in order to perfect the quality, availability and efficiency of justice in the United States.

Our Goals

  1. To promote, establish and charter American Inns of Court throughout the United States.
  2. To help ensure the vitality and continuity of local Inns.
  3. To facilitate the exchange of ideas, experiences and ongoing education among members of the American Inns of Court, thereby maintaining an institutional forum where judges, lawyers, academicians and students of law, working together, pursue the highest goals of the legal profession.
  4. To shape a culture of excellence in American jurisprudence by promoting a commitment to professionalism, ethics, civility and legal skills in the practice of law, and transmitting these values from one generation of lawyers to the next.
  5. To ensure the viability and long-term stability of the American Inns of Court Foundation.

Our Creed

Whereas, the Rule of 

Law is essential to preserving and protecting the rights and liberties of a free people; and

Whereas, throughout history, lawyers and judges have preserved, protected and defended the Rule of Law in order to ensure justice for all; and

Whereas, preservation and promulgation of the highest standards of excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills are essential to achieving justice under the Rule of Law;

Now therefore, as a member of an American Inn of Court, I hereby adopt this professional creed with a pledge to honor its principles and practices:

  • I will treat the practice of law as a learned profession and will uphold the standards of the profession with dignity, civility and courtesy.
  • I will value my integrity above all. My word is my bond.
  • I will develop my practice with dignity and will be mindful in my communications with the public that what is constitutionally permissible may not be professionally appropriate.
  • I will serve as an officer of the court, encouraging respect for the law in all that I do and avoiding abuse or misuse of the law, its procedures, its participants and its processes.
  • I will represent the interests of my client with vigor and will seek the most expeditious and least costly solutions to problems, resolving disputes through negotiation whenever possible.
  • I will work continuously to attain the highest level of knowledge and skill in the areas of the law in which I practice.
  • I will contribute time and resources to public service, charitable activities and pro bona work.
  • I will work to make the legal system more accessible, responsive and effective.
  • I will honor the requirements, the spirit and the intent of the applicable rules or codes of professional conduct for my jurisdiction, and will encourage others to do the same.