The Daniel Webster Chapter of the American Inns of Court was founded in 1993 by a group of senior members of the trial bar and judges from the Federal District Court and the State Supreme, Superior and District courts. Our Inn was New Hampshire's first and the 192nd Inn in the United States.

While the New Hampshire Inns of Court experience is just five years old, the United States Inns movement began in 1977 when Chief Justice Warren Burger returned from a visit to England. In her foreword to the 1997 book The American Inns of Court: Reclaiming an Noble Profession, Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor describes the birth of the American Inns of Court movement as follows:

The American Inns of Court is another result of Chief Justice Burger's commitment to improving the quality of legal professionalism in the United States. In the 1960s, well before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Burger envisioned an organization that would help lawyers improve their advocacy skills, with an emphasis on the importance of professional integrity and ethics. He visited England in 1977 in connection with the Anglo-American Legal Exchange program, returning with the idea of creating in the United States an organization patterned after the English Inns of Court, which have for hundreds of years provided mentoring to young lawyers. A number of prominent members of the legal community--including Chief Judge J. Clifford Wallace, the late Judge A. Sherman Christensen, the late United States Solicitor General Rex E. Lee, Dean Howard T. Markey, and former Utah Supreme Court Justice Dallin H. Oaks--joined the Chief Justice to hone his ideas into a workable concept. Forty-four members participated in the first American Inn of Court in Utah in 1980.

Today, there are more than 270 active American Inns, with a collective membership of nearly 20,000. The organization has doubled in size every few years. The Judicial Conference of the United States, the Conference of Chief Justices, the ABA Commission on Professionalism, the ABA Judicial Administration Division, and the Committee on Civility of the Seventh Federal Judicial Circuit have strongly endorsed the American Inn program. In 1994, the American Inns of Court received the ABA Gamrell Award in Professionalism.

Although Chief Justice Burger, Chief Judge Wallace, and Judge Christensen hoped chiefly to improve advocacy in the trial courtroom, the American Inns of Court have broadened this original concept to include all of litigation, much of which takes place outside the courtroom. Moreover, a number of American Inns concentrate on specialized practice areas. The typical American Inn of Court includes judges, experienced lawyers, law professors, and new lawyers as well as law students. It provides a forum for senior lawyers to pass on the skills, ethics, and civility that are central to our profession. It creates an informal environment in which young people-students and lawyers-can sit down with more experienced attorneys and discuss their doubts and questions about legal practice. Most important, the American Inns of Court is committed to inspiring all lawyers to rise to the highest level of professional excellence.

Since its founding, the Daniel Webster Inn of Court has prided itself on its ability to bring together judges and attorneys of varying degrees of experience in a social, yet educational atmosphere. While attendees receive CLE credit for the educational hour of our monthly meetings, the greatest benefit members receive is learning from each other as ideas are exchanged, theories or arguments are tested, and friendships are made.

If you would like more information about the Daniel Webster Inn of Court, please feel free to contact Lisa Snow Wade at lsw@orr-neno.com

 

 

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