American Inns of Court

American Inns of Court started in the United States in the early 1980’s. In 1985 the American Inns of Court Foundation with 12 Inns nationally, was organized to support the Inns and to promote the goals of legal excellence, civility, professionalism and ethics on a national level.

The American Inns of Court movement has grown to nearly 400 chartered American Inns of Court in 48 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Tokyo. There are more than 30,000 active members nationwide encompassing a wide cross-section of the legal community, including federal and state judges, lawyers, and law professors.

Membership is divided into "pupillage teams," with each team consisting of a few members from each membership category depending on the members' level of experience: Associates, Barristers and Masters. Barristers are experienced lawyers, who may have as much as 25 or 30 years of experience, or sometimes as little as five years experience. Associates generally are younger lawyers, some of whom have considerable experience, and some of whom are relatively new to the practice of law.

Each pupillage team conducts one program for the Inn each year. Pupillage team members gather informally outside of monthly meetings in groups of two or more. This allows the less-experienced attorneys to become more effective advocates and counselors by learning from the more-experienced attorneys and judges.

In this collegial environment, outside the courtroom and pressure of daily practice, members discuss legal practice, principles, and methods. Specialized practitioners and complementing generalists provide a mix of skill, theory, experience, and passion. This fluid, side-by-side approach allows seasoned judges and attorneys to help shape newer lawyers with practical guidance in serving the law and seeking justice.

The American Inns of Court Foundation chartered the Hon. William B. Enright Inn of Court in 1991.