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In the late 1990’s, a group of lawyers and judges got together to follow a tradition that began in England and has been around for centuries, The Inn of Court. The Honorable Gary Flower, Homer Bliss, Cindy Catalan and David Garfinkel formalized The Florida Family Law American Inn of Court after initially meeting informally to discuss family law, professionalism, trial techniques and procedures, and to discuss new family law ideas. After meeting numerous times and feeling that this type of dialogue would assist others in the practice of family law, The Inn of Court was born.
At that time in Jacksonville, there already existed the Chester Bedell Inn of Court, which was a general practice Inn. The American Inn of Courts recognized family law as a separate entity for establishment of a separate Inn of Court. The founding members’ solicited The Honorable Jean Johnson and Demere Mason to help organize an Inn of Court specializing in family law. The Honorable Jean Johnson and Homer Bliss then attended a seminar on how to start an Inn of Court.
Charter members were sent invitations to join the Inn of Court and during its formation and initial year. The Florida Family Law American Inn of Court was assisted greatly by the judges then on the family law bench being Judge Jean Johnson, Judge David Wiggins, Judge Karen Cole, Judge Bernard Nachman and Judge Jack Schemer. Additional impetus came from the help of Chief Justice Major Harding of THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT and The Honorable Susan Black of the 11th CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS.