The annual dues for Masters are $575, dues for Barristers are $500, and dues for Associate members are $425. The Student members pay no dues. The funds provided by the dues defray the Inn’s operating expenses, including the cost of the members’ meals at the monthly Inn meetings, the dues to the American Inns of Court Foundation, and the CLE fees charged by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. Partial or full scholarships based on financial need may be available upon request.
The American Inns of Court Foundation has received a 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service, and the Harry Phillips AIC benefits from this designation as an affiliate of the Foundation. Members may deduct their dues either as a business expense or as a charitable contribution. Members electing to deduct their Inn dues as a charitable contribution must reduce the amount of their contribution by $280, the value of the meals.
The Inn’s active members are divided into eight teams. The program committee selects the teams and makes sure that each team includes Masters, Barristers, Associates, and one Student who would not otherwise encounter each other frequently in their daily work. Team assignments may be changed for good cause. Members desiring to change teams must do so as early as possible. They must also find a member of another team that has not yet presented a program who is willing to take their place and must inform the president of their reason for changing teams and the name of their replacement.
The teams are encouraged to meet monthly, or more often if necessary, to prepare their program and to promote camaraderie among the team members. The teams choose their own meeting places and times, but are expected to notify their team liaison when their meetings are scheduled.
Each team is led by two co-captains. The co-captains are responsible for convening the team, for assuring that the team members attend the Inn’s meetings and activities, and for promoting contacts among team members between Inn meetings. The co-captains also supervise the preparation of the team’s program and are responsible for all other team activities. One member of the team is designated as the team’s reporter. The responsibilities of the reporter include (1) assuring that the team’s handout materials are prepared and submitted for posting on the Inn’s website prior to the meeting and (2) preparing the Program Submission Form and assembling the related materials for submission to the American Inns of Court.
One of the members of the program committee serves as the liaison to each team. The liaison attends the team’s meetings and is available to assist the team in organizing, and presenting its program.
Each team must prepare and present one of the Inn’s eight programs. In addition to presenting a program, the teams provide Inn members an opportunity to become better acquainted with other lawyers practicing in Middle Tennessee. The teams are the principle component of the Inn’s mentoring activities. Their diverse membership is intended to build an inter-generational relationship that encourages frank and personal discussion of matters of practice, ethics, civility, and all other aspects of the practice of law. The most experienced members of the team are encouraged to pass on the best of the practice to the less experienced members. Accordingly, Masters are encouraged to provide their Associate and Student colleagues with opportunities to observe them in court, in deposition, or in the office.
BEST PROGRAM AWARDS
The American Inns of Court promote innovative and creative program development by presenting annual awards for the ten most outstanding programs offered by local Inns, as well as special recognition for the best researched program, the most creative program, and the best special project. All programs submitted to the national office of the American Inns of Court are automatically considered for its recognition.
Our Inn has received national recognition for three programs. Our November 1995 program entitled “I’ve Got a Secret – Confidentiality and Secrecy” received a fifth place award in 1996, our April 1999 program called “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics” received a ninth place award in 2000, and our February 2015 program “Magna Carta: The Palladium of English and American Liberties” received second place in the Magna Carta program contest.
In addition to pursuing national recognition for outstanding programming, our Inn will sponsor its own best program competition. Following our last meeting in May 2024, all members will be given an opportunity to vote for the best program materials and the best program of the year. The members of the team presenting the best program of the year will not only be recognized for their efforts, but they and their spouses or significant others will also receive a congratulatory dinner.
The program year begins in August with an introductory dinner. Thereafter, the Inn holds eight meetings on the third Tuesday of every month. All meetings are held at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville. Each meeting begins with a cocktail reception with a cash bar from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Dinner follows the reception, and then one of the Inn’s eight teams presents a ninety-minute program dealing with a practical aspect of the practice of law. Meetings end at 8:30 p.m.
CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION CREDIT
The Inn has been certified as a CLE provider by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. Members may earn as many as 13.5 hours of CLE credit, including 3 hours of ethics and professionalism credit, by attending seven and participating in one of the Inn’s programs. The number of credits available for participating in the presentation of a program depends upon the written materials’ compliance with Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 21, § 4.03.
Members and guests desiring to obtain CLE credit must sign an attendance form at the conclusion of each program. The members’ CLE fees are included in their dues.
The Inn’s programs are primarily for the members’ benefit. However, members may invite guests. Members who wish to invite guests must inform the president in advance of the meeting of their guests’ names. They must also agree to be responsible for the cost of the guests’ meals and for the continuing legal education fees if their guests desire credit for attending the program. Members may pay for their guests prior to the meeting or may request to be billed. The cost of the meal and program is $50.
All active members are expected to attend and to participate actively in the Inn’s meetings. Two unexcused absences during a program year will be deemed to be a resignation unless the executive committee waives the provision for good cause. Persons who are unable to attend a particular meeting must inform the president prior to the meeting of the reasons for their absence. Absences without advance notice are not excused.
Governance of the Harry Phillips AIC is entrusted to the officers and the executive committee. The officers include: president, counselor, secretary/treasurer, reporter, program chairs, membership chair, and arrangements chair. The executive committee consists of the nine officers and four at-large members. The president and counselor must be masters, and at least one of them must be a judge. The other officers and at-large executive committee members may be drawn from any membership category.
The membership committee also nominates the Inn’s officers and at-large executive committee members. Elections are held in conjunction with the last meeting of the program year. The president and counselor are elected by a majority of the Masters, and the other officers are elected by a majority of the entire membership. Officers serve for a one-year term and are eligible to serve successive terms. A list of the officers for 2023-2024 is included in this handbook, and members are encouraged to contact any of the officers if they have questions or comments concerning the Inn.
SELECTION OF MEMBERS
In the spring of each year, a membership committee solicits nominations for new Masters, Barristers, and Associates from the Inn’s active members and from state and federal judges. The membership committee then identifies persons who have a demonstrated interest in developing their own professional skills and in improving the quality of justice in Middle Tennessee and submits its recommendations to the Inn’s executive committee. The executive committee extends the invitations to join the Inn.
The Inn also invites the Nashville School of Law and Vanderbilt University School of Law to recommend students who are about to begin their final year of studies for membership in the Inn. Each law school recommends students who, by their academic performance and participation in extracurricular activities, have demonstrated an active interest in the practice of law.
All lawyers, law professors, and judges living and working in Davidson County or in any county contiguous to Davidson County are eligible for membership in the Harry Phillips AIC either as Masters, Barristers, or Associates. In addition, students enrolled at law schools in Middle Tennessee who are entering their final year of studies are eligible for Student membership. Former members of the Inn may be nominated for membership as long as they have not been active members of the Inn for at least one year. The Inn favors making the Inn experience available to as many lawyers practicing in Middle Tennessee as possible.