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American Inns of Court

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The American Inns of Court are organized to improve the professionalism, skills, and ethics of  judges, lawyers, law professors, law students. Inn of Court meet approximately once a month for fellowship and for programs designed to improve legal skills, ethics, and professionalism.

The American Inns of Court is loosely based upon the traditional English model of legal apprenticeship -- without the British wigs and robes -- transformed  to fit the circumstances and needs of the American legal system. The intent is to help lawyers become more effective counselors and advocates with a heightened ethical awareness. Young lawyers and students  through exposure to the experience of seasoned attorneys and  judges in their community.

American Inns of Court are not just social, fraternal organizations, or mere continuing legal education programs, an apprenticeships or adjuncts of a law school's program. While some of each of these features may be involved, the Inns of Court are different in aim, scope, and effect.

American Inns of Court include more than 25,000 legal professionals. Membership includes: Masters (judges, lawyers with at least 10 years experience, and law professors), Barristers (lawyers at least 5 years experience), Associates (lawyers with at least 5 years experience), and Pupils (law students). 

Most Inns concentrate on issues surrounding civil and criminal litigation practice, and include attorneys from a number of specialties. However, there are several Inns that specialize in criminal practice, federal litigation, tax law, administrative law, white-collar crime, bankruptcy, intellectual property, family law, or employment and labor law. Over 350 Inns of Court are chartered around the United States.

The membership of each Inn of Court is divided into "pupillage teams," including of a few members from each membership category. Each team conducts one program for the Inn each year. Pupillage team members are supposed to get together informally outside of monthly Inn meetings in groups of two or more, though of course everyone is subject to the tyranny of busy schedules. This allows the less-experienced attorneys to become more effective advocates and counselors by learning from the more-experienced attorneys and judges. In addition, each less-experienced member is assigned to a more-experienced attorney or judge who acts as a mentor and encourages conversations about the practice of law.

Members of the American Inns of Court subscribe to the following "Professional Creed":

  • I will treat the practice of law as a learned profession and will uphold the standards of the profession with dignity, civility and courtesy.
  • I will value my integrity above all. My word is my bond.
  • I will develop my practice with dignity and will be mindful in my communications with the public that what is constitutionally permissible may not be professionally appropriate.
  • I will serve as an officer of the court, encouraging respect for the law in all that I do and avoiding abuse or misuse of the law, its procedures, its participants and its processes.
  • I will represent the interests of my client with vigor  and will seek the most expeditious and least costly solutions to problems, resolving disputes through negotiation whenever possible.
  • I will work continuously to attain the highest level of knowledge and skill in the areas of the law in which I practice.
  • I will contribute time and resources to public service, charitable activities and pro bono work.
  • I will work to make the legal system more accessible, responsive and effective.
  • I will honor the requirements, the spirit and the intent of the applicable rules or codes of professional conduct for my jurisdiction, and will encourage others to do the same.

Ken Shigley is a Master of the Lamar Inn of Court, which is affiliated with Emory University Law School. He is a 2019 recipient of the “Tradition of Excellence”Award from the State Bar of Georgia General Practice & Trial Section.

Mr. Shigley has earned three national board certifications from the National Board of Trial Advocacy – in Civil Trial Law, Civil Practice Law and Truck Accident LawHe is a board member of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys, former chair of the American Association for Justice Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway & Premises Liability Section, which includes the Trucking Litigation Group. 

He is lead author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation and Practice, now in its tenth annual edition with Thomson Reuters West. His law practice is focused on catastrophic injury and wrongful death including those arising from commercial trucking accidents and those involving brainneckbackspinal cordamputation and burn injuries. 

In 2011-12, Mr. Shigley was president of the State  Bar of Georgia, which includes all the lawyers and judges in Georgia.  He also is a former chair of the Institute for Legal Education in Georgia (board member 2008-2019, chair 2012-13),  State Bar of Georgia Tort & Insurance Practice Section (1994-95), and the Georgia Insurance Law Institute (1994). 

A former prosecutor and former insurance defense lawyer, Mr. Shigley is a graduate of Furman University and Emory University Law School. He is a widower,  father of two adult children, and an elder in his church.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Goes above and beyond and is a mountain of knowledge on spine and brain injuries. He does his research and represents you with a level of excellence. Remains a friend after representing me." Dee M., Woodstock, GA
★★★★★
"I have collaborated with Mr. Shigley on several initiatives within Georgia’s Judiciary over the past few years and found him to be a persistent and attentive individual. Ken has taken great pride in his involvement with the projects that I have worked on and he is good at influencing success. Despite his hectic schedule, Ken has always made time to discuss, research and review ideas for the best way to accomplish goals. I look forward to a continued working relationship in this and future roles." Jorge B., CIO, Judicial Council of Georgia
★★★★★
"After having to have a hole drilled in an automobile part at a machine shop 10 years ago, I told my uncle I could have done that. My uncle replied, "You are doing this once these guys do it every day" That simply means if you don't know where to turn, get help and get an expert. Ken was that help when I was severely injured during a fatal accident. Ken and his team at Shigley Law are experts, and are here to help you during your crisis. Ken will be there during the injury, recovery, and trial. He and his firm will work hard to see that you are represented fairly!" Jeremy R.
★★★★★
"Ken is a very kind man. He has a wealth of knowledge and is going above and beyond to help us while representing our case." Candy F., spouse of catastrophic injury client, Plains, GA
★★★★★
"I know Ken as trial lawyer of highest standards. Ken is knowledgeable and innovative and that translates to success in the courtroom. He is outgoing, compassionate and personable which makes him a pleasure to work with in any setting." Eric B., Attorney, Canton, GA