DMBA inaugurates new Inn of Court More than 100 members expected to turn out for tonight's event

By Steve Thorpe

Legal News

The Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association's new Inn of Court (IOC) program is going full speed ahead, with new members coming aboard every week. At least one officer of the IOC isn't at all surprised.

"The DMBA has been around for 176 years. One of its missions has always been to foster a sense of collegiality and to develop the bar," said Officer at Large Arthur O'Reilly, an attorney at Honigman in Detroit.

The DMBA Inn of Court will hold its annual meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the Detroit Athletic Club.

The DMBA Inn of Court intends to promote strong relationships between attorneys, create mentoring and training opportunities and encourage more frequent contacts between the bench and the bar.

The program follows the English model of legal apprenticeship and involves monthly presentations intended to foster discussion of law, ethics and practice.

"An Inn of Court program is, at its best, one of the core functions that a bar can serve," said O'Reilly. "It takes judges and lawyers from different firms and puts them in a position where they can create relationships. Relationships can be formed between senior members of different law firms, between judges and lawyers and between junior lawyers and senior lawyers. All those things help develop the practice and the relationships that will, ultimately, better the bar as a whole."

The DMBA leadership anticipate more than 100 members will attend tonight's event.

The American Inns of Court was created by lawyers and judges, including U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, based on discussions in the 1970s. In 1983, Burger formed a committee to determine the value of the concept to the American legal system, which eventually led to the formal creation of the organization in 1985. The organization now has 25,000 members nationwide.

O'Reilly gives a tip of the hat to his legal neighbors to the north for inspiration in creating the DMBA IOC.

"One of the inspirations for the DMBA program was that the OCBA (Oakland County Bar Association) program has been such a benefit to the lawyers practicing in Oakland County," he said. "Their program is very successful and has developed a much closer-knit bar there. It's doing everything we want to do here in Detroit."

Officers of the DMBA IOC are President Christopher Murray and Officers at Large Benjamin Jeffers, Elizabeth Jolliffe and O'Reilly.

The first three monthly programs will be held April 16, May 21 and June 18 from 6-7 p.m. in Room 115 of Detroit's Federal Courthouse. The program will then take a summer hiatus and resume in October. A full eight-month program is planned for October 2012 through May 2013.

Membership categories include Team Leader (Judicial), Master (10 years of practice), Associate (less than five years of practice) and Law Clerk (law student or non-attorney legal professional). Annual dues for the IOC will be $100 for Team Leaders, Masters, Barristers and Associates and $25 for Law Clerks.

Participation in the DMBA Inn of Court is available only to DMBA members.

Contact Mitzi Sharp Futro at 313-961-6120 ext. 201 or for more information.

Published: Tue, Mar 27, 2012