Program Development Plan
The purposes of the monthly programs are (1) to allow members to interact with each other and mentor more junior attorneys and law students in meaningful ways, (2) to provide quality continuing legal education for the membership, including education about ethics, professionalism, and civility, and (3) to foster a stronger sense of community among local attorneys.
Structure of Pupilage Groups
The Texas Tech University School of Law American Inn of Court operates with ten pupilage groups. Each pupilage group has one or two pupils (Texas Tech University School of Law student), one associate, two barristers, and three masters (one of which is a bencher). The teams are assigned to account for practice areas, diversity, and maximum mentoring opportunities.
The Inn meets six times per year, on the first or second Tuesday of September, October, November, February, March, and April. Because the Inn includes law students, the schedule matches the academic year. We also hold an informal social in late April or early May. Except for the law students and anyone who departs the Inn, we keep the pupilage groups the same for two years so that each group is responsible for the program at least once during that period. Tables without a programming assignment are assigned other projects including Mentoring, Inn news, Outreach, or Website.
The meetings are held at the Texas Tech University School of Law. The meetings begin with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:00 p.m. During the meal, members engage in “table talk” subjects that may relate to the evening’s program or a mentoring subject. The Counselor calls roll, and the President asks for visitors to be introduced and allows each table to share their good news and other announcements.
From 6:30-7:30pm, the responsible group presents a CLE program. All pupilage group members participate in the planning and presenting of the program. With rare exception, programs may not consist of an outside speaker, although experts may be called upon to assist in presenting new information and/or answering questions. The group presenting the program endeavors to include all Inn members in the discussion or interactive program in some way. We have found our programs to have been very interactive, inclusive, and creative.
The day after an Inn meeting, an electronic survey is sent to all members asking the participant to rank the program in the following categories.
- Relevance: Did the program promote or incorporate elements of the American Inns of Court mission? (fostering excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills)
- Research: Did the program appear to contain complete research on the issue?
- Creativity: Did the program present the subject matter in an innovative, interesting, or new way?
- Educational: Did the program educate you on the subject matter? Was the program educational for all levels of our Inn’s membership?
- Entertaining: Did the group present the information in a captivating or fun way?
Significant, original programs are submitted to the American Inns of Court national office for award consideration and addition to its library. At least four of the six annual programs must be original works of this Inn. Each year at least one program or project must be approved by the Programs Chair for joint programming with another bar, community, or law student organization.
The fall Meeting of the Masters review and approve programming ideas for the forthcoming Inn year. All program subject matter must be approved by the Programs Chairperson in consultation with the Executive Board.
Continuing Legal Education
By October 1 of each year, the table must submit program ideas for approval to the program chairperson. Approved programs are submitted to the State Bar of Texas for CLE approval. Where appropriate, ethics credit (or other specialty credit) is requested. Each member attending an Inn meeting must sign in to be granted CLE credit for the session.
At the end of the Inn year, the Executive Board selects a “Best Program” award, the prized bowling trophy that travels from table to table. Our Inn’s original program entitled “Anti-SLAPP: The Musical or The Texas Citizens Protection Act, Take 2: How Legislative Changes to Texas’s Anti-SLAPP Law Will Affect the Civil Anti-SLAPP, the Musical” won national recognition as an outstanding new program.
New Member Orientation
Prior to the first meeting each year in September, the Inn hosts a New Member Orientation that is required of all new members. The speakers consist of members of the Executive Board and the program following the national American Inns of Court PowerPoint model.