The eight programs offered during the year are at the heart of the Inn’s monthly meetings. They focus on practical legal skills with an emphasis on ethics, civility, and professionalism in lawyering. They generally involve a demonstration or presentation of principles, skills, techniques, and relationships involved in trial and appellate court proceedings or alternative dispute resolution proceedings and in activities preliminary to courtroom appearances. These programs also incorporate opportunities for critique and discussion.
Each team presenting a program must:
- Select a program format that will present the assigned topic in an interesting and informative manner.
- Prepare written materials that satisfy the requirements of Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 21, §§ 4.03 & 5.01(e). These materials are either posted on the Inn’s website or are handed out at the meeting.
- Prepare an American Inns of Court Program Report Form to be included in the Foundation’s national Programming Manual. A copy of the form for this report can be found at the end of the handbook. This task is the responsibility of the team’s reporter.
The Inn will also underwrite the meal costs for persons who are not Inn members but who have been invited by a team to be part of a program. With prior approval, the Inn will provide up to $100 to each team to help defray the costs of its program.
PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
Before the program year ends, all members are asked for program ideas. Those ideas, along with a list of previously offered or considered programs is provided to the Program Committee which consists of 7-10 members. In late spring the committee and the Inn President meet to discuss, identify, select and develop eight programs for the coming year. Those programs may come from the solicited program ideas, but are not confined to them.
A tentative list of programs is prepared. Members of the Program Committee are assigned to further research and develop the program ideas, which typically are more than the number needed. The assigned members prepare memos in a uniform style describing the program, background, recommended points to discuss, format ideas and resources. Thereafter the program committee meets to make a final selection of eight programs and to set the program order for the year.
The Inn President assigns master level team captains with particular knowledge or interest in the topic to each program, along with a Program Committee liaison, reporter and team members. The programs are sent to the teams, which may modify the program as they deem fit.
At year end members vote for the best program. The best program team wins a dinner at a local iconic restaurant.