Bylaws of The Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn Of Court

 

ARTICLE I

GENERAL

Section 1.1 Purpose. The purposes of The Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court are as follows:

  • 1.1.1 To establish a society of judges, lawyers, family law professors, law students and others, to promote excellence in legal advocacy in accordance with the Professional Creed of the American Inns of Court;
  • 1.1.2 To foster greater understanding of and appreciation for the adversary system of dispute resolution in American law, with particular emphasis on family law, ethics, civility, professionalism and legal skills;
  • 1.1.3 To provide significant educational experiences that will improve and enhance the abilities of lawyers as counselors and advocates and of judges as adjudicators and judicial administrators;
  • 1.1.4 To promote interaction and collegiality among all legal professionals in order to minimize misapprehension, misconceptions and failures of communication that obstruct the practice of law;
  • 1.1.5 To facilitate the development of law students, recent law school graduates, and less experienced lawyers as skilled participants in The Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court;
  • 1.1.6 To preserve and transmit the highest ethical values from one generation of legal professionals to the next; and
  • 1.1.7 To build upon the genius and strengths of the common law and the English Inns of Court and to renew and inspire joy and zest in legal advocacy as a service worthy of constant effort and learning.

Section 1.2 Principal Location. The Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court shall be located in the city of Houston, County of Harris, State of Texas.

ARTICLE II

ORGANIZATION

Section 2.1 Nature of Organization. The Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court shall be and remain chartered and affiliated with the American Inns of Court Foundation and shall be an unincorporated association composed of judges, practicing lawyers, family law professors, recent law school graduates, and law students who accept an invitation to membership, as herein described.

Section 2.2 The Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is composed of all Masters and Emeritus Masters. The Executive Committee is composed of the officers and the chairs of the various committees formed by the Executive Committee and such other committee chairs as are determined by the Executive Committee.

  • 1.1.1 Duties and Authority of the Board of Directors-- The Board of Directors, acting by a majority vote of its members, shall:
    1. Take such action as may be necessary to carry out the responsibilities imposed by the Organizational Charter, any Bylaws adopted by The Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court and by the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Policies and Directives of the American Inns of Court Foundation;
    2. Determine the size of each membership category in The Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court, with a goal that the size of each membership does not exceed eighty (80) excluding Emeritus Members;
    3. Establish, collect and remit local and national membership dues assessments as described hereinafter;
    4. Appoint a representative(s) to attend the annual meeting of the American Inns of Court Foundation;
    5. Appoint a representative to serve as the development contact with the American Inns of Court Foundation;
    6. Confer and terminate memberships of this Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court; and perform such other duties as may facilitate proper operation of the organization.

Section 2.3 The Officers. The officers of the Inn shall be a President, President Elect, Immediate Past President Counselor, Secretary and Treasurer. The officers serve one year term, except the Treasurer and Secretary who serve two year terms. The counselor's term has no limit.

  • 2.3.1 Duties of the Officers -- The officers shall be responsible for the general operation of The Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court in accordance with the Organizational Charter, these Bylaws and by the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Policies and Directives of the American Inns of Court Foundation, including The Officer's Manual.

Section 2.4 Committees. The Executive Committee may establish standing and ad hoc committees from time to time from among the active members of the Inn, and from time to time may change or discontinue committees.

  • 2.4.1 Standing Committees -- Initially, the following standing committees shall be established: Membership Committee, Program Committee, Social and Community Service Committee, and Communication Committee.
  • 2.4.2 Duties of Standing Committees -- Among such other duties as may be assigned by the Masters and the Executive Committee, the duties of each committee shall be as follows:
    1. Membership Committee -- The Membership Committee shall solicit and review applications and make recommendations to the Executive Committee for membership in the Inn; shall maintain records of attendance and oversee attendance in accordance with Article III. Section 2 of these Bylaws; and, shall assign members to teams.
    2. Program Committee -- The Program Committee chaired by the President Elect shall oversee and approve program topics, the Secretary shall be responsible for submitting programs for Continuing Legal Education credit.
    3. Social and Community Service Committee -- The Social And Community Service Committee shall be responsible for scheduling, arranging and collecting resources for approved social and community service functions of the Inn within the parameters as set forth by the Executive Committee.
    4. Communication Committee -- The Communication Committee shall be responsible for the distribution of news, announcements, and other information among members of the Inn, and to the American Inns of Court Foundation; shall be responsible for submitting program reports to the American Inns of Court Foundation; and, shall prepare articles for the Bencher, other magazines and news agencies; and shall maintain communication with local law schools, other legal organizations, and the local community in order to advise interested persons of Inn activities.
  • 2.4.3 Committee Members -- The officers shall appoint committee members and chairs of the committees, who shall serve as directed by the Executive Committee.
  • 2.4.4 Sub-Committees -- Committees may create ad hoc sub-committees, as appropriate.

Section 2.5 Teams. All active members, will be assigned to a team by the Membership Committee and shall be approved by the Executive Committee. Each team shall be co-chaired by two members appointed by the Executive Committee. The teams shall be reassigned every four years.

ARTICLE III

MEMBERSHIP

Section 3.1 Invitations to Membership. Membership of the Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court shall be conferred upon those accepting invitations extended by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee's discretion in extending invitations to membership is absolute and non-reviewable. Invitations may be extended on the basis of recommendations made to the Executive Committee by any member of the American Inn of Court or in response to written application filed with the membership chair. Membership shall not be denied on account of race, creed, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin.

Section 3.2 Active Members. There are four classifications of active members in the Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court, as ratified by the Executive Committee of this Inn. Membership as an active member of the Inn is available only to those who agree to participate in the Inn and pay the membership fees. The active member classifications are as set forth below:

  • 3.2.1 Masters of the Bench -- members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in good standing, who practice in Houston and contiguous counties. Other members include all family law board-certified Judges, Associate Judges (former and current) and full professors with tenure who teach in the area of family law or marital property in Harris and contiguous counties;
  • 3.2.2 Emeritus Masters -- Masters of the Bench who, as determined by the Executive Committee, are unable to fully participate in the Teams as would a participating Master, and who have faithfully fulfilled his or her obligations and duties to the Inn.
  • 3.2.3 Barristers -- members are to be chosen by the Masters. Each Barrister shall be a board-certified family lawyer whose practice is in Harris or contiguous counties, and who is not a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers;
  • 3.2.4 Associates -- members are to be chosen by the Masters upon recommendation of the Membership committee. Each Associate shall be any non-board certified family law attorney practicing family law no less than 80% of their practice of representing parties in family law cases.
  • 3.2.5 Student - A student is a third year law student or a one year postgraduate law school graduate, recommended by the Dean of one of the three law schools located in Harris County.

Section 3.3 Membership. Membership in Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court shall consist of Masters, Emeritus Masters, Barristers, Associates, and students.

Section 3.4 Inactive Members. The Executive Committee may confer Emeritus memberships as set forth below:

  • 3.4.1 Emeritus Members -- Emeritus membership may be conferred upon active Masters on the basis of long and distinguished service to The Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court. Emeritus Members shall be obligated to pay dues, but not required to attend meetings or participate in other programs of The Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court but shall enjoy all privileges of active membership including the right to vote. At the election of the Emeritus Member they may be assigned to a Team.

ARTICLE IV

MEETINGS AND ATTENDANCE

Section 4.1 Meetings. Meetings shall be held at least six times per year at such times as the Executive Committee may determine. The Inn shall endeavor to have at least one social event per year wherein members may invite guests.

Section 4.2 Attendance. Each active member will be allowed three unexcused absences from the monthly meetings in a year. The Membership Committee shall monitor attendance at meetings and shall submit the names of those who have three unexcused absences to the Executive Committee. The non-participating member will be contacted by the Membership Chair in order to determine if he/she wishes to remain in this American Inn of Court, and in the event another unexcused absence occurs, this member may be dropped from the rolls and all dues will be forfeited.

ARTICLE V

VOTING AND ELECTIONS

Section 5.1 Masters. Each Master including Emeritus Masters shall be entitled to one vote on all matters submitted to the Masters. A majority of active Masters shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Every act done or decision made by a majority of the Masters in attendance at a meeting shall be regarded as the act of all the Masters.

Section 5.2 Executive Committee. Each member of the Executive Committee shall be entitled to one vote on all matters submitted to the Committee. In the event of a tie, the President shall have the deciding vote. A majority of the members of the Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Every act done or decision made by a majority of the members in attendance at the meeting called for that purpose shall be regarded as the act of the entire Committee.

Section 5.3 Elections. The nomination and election of the officers will occur every year during the month of May at a meeting of the active Masters and Emeritus Masters called for that purpose. Nominations shall be submitted by the Executive Committee.

  • 5.3.1 President Elect - President Elect shall succeed the President.
  • 5.3.2 Treasurer and Secretary -- The Treasurer and Secretary must be selected from among the Masters and shall be elected by vote of a majority of the members present and they shall serve alternating two year terms, then shall succeed to President Elect.
  • 5.3.4 Counselor - Serves without a term limitation.
  • 5.3.5 Immediate Past President -- Upon the election of a new president past President shall be automatically appointed to serve as an officer on the Executive Committee of the new administration.

Section 5.4 Vacancies. When a position as an officer or, committee chair becomes vacant, the procedures for election and selection of officers and chairs shall be followed when the vacancy occurs; however, the duration of the vacant position shall not be counted against the new officer or chair in regards to any maximum term of service.

ARTICLE VI

FISCAL MATTERS

Section 6.1 Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of The Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court shall be the same as the fiscal year of the American Inns of Court Foundation which is from July 1 to June 30 of each year.

Section 6.2 Dues. Dues shall be in an amount in which the Executive Committee may deem appropriate in order to conduct its meetings and otherwise meet its operating needs and shall be levied by the Treasurer during the month of August of each year. The Executive Committee shall also collect from each of its active members, such an amount assessed by the American Inns of Court Foundation as national membership dues. Failure to pay assessments and dues prior to the third meeting of the Inn year and after reasonable notice may be considered by the Executive Committee as grounds to terminate membership of the person in default.

Section 6.3 Expenses. This Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court shall pay all expenses in accordance with The Officers' Manual, which includes payment to help pay the cost for one or more representatives to attend the National Conference of the American Inns of Court Foundation and payment to an administrator in an amount not inconsistent with the guidelines established in The Officers' Manual.

ARTICLE VII

ADOPTION AND AMENDMENTS

Section 7.1 Adoption. These Bylaws will be adopted by this Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court upon approval by a majority of the Masters and Emeritus Masters who choose to vote of this Burta Rhoads Raborn Family Law American Inn of Court and thereafter being submitted to and approved, in writing, by the Board of Trustees of the American Inns of Court Foundation. The Masters may make valid decisions by voting by mail, facsimile, electronic mail, or other means when deemed necessary by the Executive Committee or the President.

Section 7.2 Amendments. Amendments to these Bylaws may be made by a majority of the Masters and Emeritus Masters who choose to vote of this Houston Family Law American Inn of Court and must be submitted to and approved, in writing, by the Board of Trustees of the American Inns of Court Foundation. The Masters may make valid decisions by voting by mail, facsimile, electronic mail, or other means when deemed necessary by the Executive Committee or the President.