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

The William H. Stafford American Inn of Court

Welcome to the William H. Stafford American Inn of Court  AE 2014 Platinum web badge

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 law in order to perfect the quality,  availability, and efficiency of justice in the United States." We are part of a  national movement, started in the early 1980s, to "reclaim a noble profession."  Inspired by the British Inn tradition of life-long professional mentoring, the  American Inns of Court provide an experience that transcends practice areas and job titles.

Our chapter, formed in 1989, is a group of 100 lawyers, judges, and law students dedicated to the mission of fostering professionalism and civility in the justice system. It's named after the Honorable William H. Stafford, Senior United States District Judge for the Northern District of Florida, a founding member and the first president of our Inn. Membership is based on peer nomination. Lawyers are assigned a role within the Inn based on their experience level and the availability of membership slots within the established categories.

Our Inn is divided into ten (10) "Pupilage" teams comprised of one judge, two Master lawyers, three Barristers, two Associates and two Pupils (law students). Team members are expected to cross-mentor one another about various issues affecting the profession. Teams are expected to meet regularly and exchange information which furthers the mission of the Inn. In addition, six teams are selected in the beginning of the year to present a program during one of the monthly general membership meetings, for which members may receive CLE credit. In keeping with tradition, the programs are educational and entertaining, while promoting audience participation and lively discussions.

Membership in the Stafford Inn is an honor. It requires a commitment of time  and energy to the shared goal of promoting professionalism while fostering  fellowship among members of our legal community. The experience of membership  in the Stafford Inn is unique, and the lessons learned from it invaluable. 

Again, welcome to the Stafford Inn! I am looking forward to a fun and  productive year.

M. Hope Keating

President, 2014-15