Fostering Excellence in Professionalism, Ethics, Civility, and Legal Skills

The Denis McInerney NYCLA American Inn of Court


The New York County Lawyers Association American Inn of Court is the 200th American Inn of Court in the United States and the first Inn to be established in New York City.  Its charter application included the names of the Honorable Francis T. Murphy, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division First Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, the Honorable Ernst H. Rosenberger, Justice of the Appellate Division First Department, the Honorable John S. Martin and Kevin Thomas Duffy, United States District Court Judges for the Southern District of New York, and Denis McInerney, Cahill Gordon & Reindel, who received the initial charter on behalf of the Inn in June 1993 at a meeting of the American Inns of Court in Chicago, Illinois.


The Inn's active members are divided into eight teams, each of which is led by two leaders, at least one of whom is a judge.  Each team prepares and presents one of the Inn's monthly programs.  The team's responsibilities include:  (1) choosing a topic and clearing it with the Inn's Program Committee, (2) selecting the format and speakers (both from within and without the Inn) most likely to present the topic in an interesting manner, (3) preparing written materials that illustrate and complement the subject matter of the program; and, where appropriate, (4) preparing an American Inn of Court Demonstration Report to be included in the American Inns of Court Foundation national programming library.

Each team is expected to meet separately (outside of the monthly Inn meetings) to fulfill these responsibilities, to promote camaraderie among its members and to encourage frank and personal discussion of matters of practice, ethics, civility and all other aspects of the practice of law.


Governance of the New York County Lawyers Association American Inn of Court is entrusted to the Officers and the Executive Committee.  There are four Officers: President, Counselor, Secretary and Treasurer.  The Executive Committee consists of these four Officers and five other members, one of whom serves as the Executive Committee Chair.  The President and Counselor must be Masters, and the Inn's tradition is that at least one of them must be a Judge.

A nominating committee nominates the Inn's Officers and Executive Committee Members, who must be elected by a majority of the membership present at a meeting called for that purpose.  Members are encouraged to contact any of the Officers or committee members if they have questions or comments concerning the Inn.

Meetings and Programs

The program year begins in September.  The Inn holds monthly meetings, held at federal and state court buildings, law firms, and other locations.  Meetings usually begin between 6:00 and 6:30 p.m. with one of the Inn's teams making a presentation dealing with various aspects of the practice of law.  Dinner (the cost of which is covered by Inn dues) follows the program.  Meetings, including dinner, usually end between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m.

The programs involve practical legal skills with an emphasis on ethics, civility and professionalism in lawyering.  They generally involve a dramatization or presentation of principles, skills and techniques involved in diverse practice areas, as well as trial and appellate court proceedings, and include opportunities for audience participation.  Participants can also receive CLE credits from a majority of the programs.

The dinners permit an opportunity for young lawyers to meet with senior members of the bar in a friendly atmosphere.

Benefits from the Foundation

Members of the Inn receive other benefits from the American Inns of Court Foundation, including a subscription to The Bencher (the Foundation's bi-monthly newsletter), a national membership directory, and an invitation to the Annual Conference of Inns.

Membership also affords the opportunity to participate in Inn activities which are held in England from time to time.  In additional, members traveling to England may obtain letters of introduction to one of the four English Inns of Court.

For further information about your membership in the American Inns of Court Foundation, please contact the Foundation office at:

American Inns of Court Foundation
1229 King Street Second Floor
Alexandria, Virginia  22314
Telephone:  (703) 684-3590
Fax:  (703) 684-3607

Annual Dues

The annual dues are $450 for Inn members who were called to their first Bar six or more years ago; $275 for Inn members of less than six years ago; and $225 for members of the judiciary or attorneys in public service.  The funds provided by the dues defray the Inn's operating expenses, including the cost of meals at the monthly Inn meetings and the annual payments to support the American Inns of Court Foundation.  Dues for the 2008-2009 Term should be paid by September 15, 2008, by sending a check to Donald Zolin, Esq., Treasurer of the Inn, 61 Broadway, Suite 1105, New York, NY  10006, payable to the "Denis McInerney NYCLA American Inn of Court."

The American Inns of Court Foundation has received a Section 501(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service, and our Inn benefits from this designation as an affiliate of the Foundation.  Members may wish to check with their accountant or other tax professional about deducting their dues either as a business expense or as a charitable contribution; in the latter case, the dues must be reduced by the value of the meals.

Membership and Selection

The New York County Lawyers Association Chapter of the American Inns of Court currently has close to the 80 active members permitted by its by-laws.  The membership is divided into three classifications.  Masters of the Bench, or "Masters," are judges and seasoned lawyers.  Barristers generally include lawyers and law professors with over 10 years of experience.  Associates (called Pupils in some Inns, following English terminology) generally include lawyers with fewer than 10 years of experience.

The Inn's members are drawn largely from New York City and the greater metropolitan area.  Membership is open to all qualified persons, regardless of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin or handicap.  Thus, the NYCLA Inn reflects the rich diversity of the bench and bar in New York City and includes representatives of the plaintiffs' bar, defense counsel, prosecutors, solo practitioners, government lawyers, corporate counsel, law professors, persons working in large and small firms, and federal and state trial and appellate judges.  Efforts are made to ensure that no law firm or type of practice is disproportionately represented.

In addition to the active members, the Inn extends Friend of the Inn membership to Masters and Barristers who wish to support the Inn but are unable to participate fully in the Inn's activities.

The Inn also maintains a waiting list for candidates who wish to join.  Qualified applicants seeking membership have historically been able to become members within a reasonable time.