The Detroit Bar Association Inn of Court (IOC) strives to promote strong relationships between attorneys in different firms and practice areas, provide mentoring and training opportunities, and foster regular and constructive contacts between the bench and bar. Based on the English model of legal apprenticeship, the IOC involves five monthly, team-led programs, typically January through May, with a season-end party in June. IOC applications are accepted in the fall.
The structure of the IOC is similar to other models. The Inn is divided into “Teams,” each of which has a member of the bench. Each Team also has several “Masters” who typically have more than 20 years of practice. A Team also includes “Barristers,” with at least 6 years of practice, “Associates,” who are newer members of the bar, and “Law Clerks,” who are law students and non-attorney legal professionals.
Each Team is assigned a program date and topic and provided with program ideas. All team members are responsible for collaborating and developing a practical engaging program on its assigned topic using a skills based format for the rest of the Inn members. Judges and Masters provide strategic guidance, inspiration, coaching and practice pointers to the rest of the team.
The most valuable aspects of the Inn come from the Teams’ preparatory and social meetings, as well as the full Inn discussions and social interaction during and following the programs. All Teams are encouraged to get acquainted as a team early in the Inn season.