The Temple American Inn of Court (“the Temple Inn”) was the 100th Inn chartered in the United States and the first in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Temple Inn is the first Inn chartered in Pennsylvania and was named, in part, after the Middle Temple Inn of London. In 1990, Temple University Beasley School of Law Dean Robert Reinstein approached The Honorable Lowell A. Reed, Jr., Ed Edelstein, and others in the hope of forming an Inn modeled after the English training grounds for young barristers. These discussions led to the founding of the Temple American Inn of Court.
The first meeting, to consider and organize the Inn, was held at the Law School on November 5, 1990. In attendance were Philadelphia attorneys James E. Beasley, Perry Bechtle, Robert C. Daniels, Leonard Dubin, Edward L. Edelstein, James J. McCabe, Arthur Raynes, the Honorable Lowell A. Reed, Jr., among others. Dean Reinstein chaired the meeting which was addressed by the American Inns of Court President, Sherman I. Cohn. The excitement engendered at the meeting stirred Judge Reed to write a letter of suggestions for the Inn. This voluntary act led to Judge Reed's nomination, by acclamation, to be our Chapter's first President.
The initial meeting at Temple Law School was quickly followed by a meeting on or about November 19, 1990, in Judge Reed's Chambers at the United States District Courthouse. It was at this meeting that the list of proposed members was drawn, the Inn named the Temple American Inn of Court, and the first slate of officers was presented.
The Charter for the Temple American Inn of Court was presented to the Inn's President, the Honorable Lowell A. Reed, Jr., on June 28, 1991 at the Seventh Annual Meeting of the American Inns of Court Foundation held in New Orleans.
The Honorable Lowell A. Reed, Jr. served as the Temple American Inn of Court’s first president and Ed Edelstein as the second. Educational and entertaining programs have been the hallmark of the Temple Inn’s style, often with a flair for the dramatic. Field trips to prisons and ships, and private tours of historical venues like Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center, supplement normal venues such as courtrooms, law firms and the law school. Temple Law students join “pupillage” teams which consist of lawyers and judges of varying levels of experience in a wide range of practice areas. Agility and creativity are two Temple American Inn of Court qualities.
In its more than 30 years of existence, the Temple Inn has made a distinguished contribution to the American Inns of Court movement. The Temple Inn is nationally recognized for its innovative and creative programs. Since 2002, joint Inn events have been held annually with other Pennsylvania Inns as well as Inns from other states. Display cases at the Temple Beasley School of Law house honors for National Best Program, Circle of Excellence, Outstanding Programs, Model of Excellence Awards, Platinum Status, the Best Special Project Awards for the debates against Gray’s Inn about the legality of the Declaration of Independence held in London and Philadelphia as well as the presentation by Professor Sir John Hamilton Baker on the History and Influence of the English Inns of Court, an educational program developed as part of the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, and photographs of trips to the English Inns, Italian Courts, the Vatican, the Israeli Courts, and the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The Temple Inn has also been proud to develop and participate in the 2018 in-person and the 2020 virtual TED®-Talk style debates with Gray’s Inn and the March 2022 first ever transatlantic Joint Inn Program, US style, entitled “The Hamilton Misadventure: The Story of Tonight”.
In 2003, at the annual American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence held at the United States Supreme Court, The Honorable Lowell A. Reed, Jr. received the A. Sherman Christensen Award, the AIC’s highest honor. The Temple American Inn of Court is the first Inn in the nation to support the ABA Young Lawyers Section’s “Wills for Heroes” project that provides pro bono legal services to first responders. In 2006, the Temple Inn started a scholarship - modeled after one of the longstanding traditions of the English Inns of Court, offering support to a more junior member of the Inn, and dedicated in the memory of a long-time Inn member, Stephen T. Saltz, Esquire - which is awarded each year to a Temple Law student. The Temple Inn also pioneered its “Day of Service” program in 2012, where Inn members give back to the community by spending the day providing “hands-on” support to a local non-profit. The Temple Inn recently established the Judge Lowell A. Reed, Jr. Distinguished Professionalism Award in his memory and honor. The Award will be bestowed periodically on Inn members whose distinguished service and commitment to the Inn movement fulfills Judge Reed’s legacy.
In 2016, based on the relationship between the Temple American Inn of Court and Gray’s Inn, the Temple Inn hosted the inaugural National Advocacy Training Program for the American Inns of Court. This National Advocacy Training Program involves training by distinguished judges and barristers from the Inns of Court College of Advocacy established by the Council of the Inns of Court of England and Wales. It has now become an established annual program of the American Inns of Court.
The Inn’s motto “Honoris Justitia Causa”, meaning “just for the sake of that which is right and honorable” in our profession, was coined in 2006 by the late Joshua Barrett of Leeds, England, and sums up the spirit and mission of the Inn.