First District Court of Appeal Judge Scott Makar was the guest speaker for the event.
Inn President Judge William Ray Holley announced the Inn would embark on a project to create a permanent archive honoring former workers' compensation practitioners and judges of compensation claims since 1935. Further, the Inn was recognized by the American Inns of Court as a Platinum Inn for term 2012-2013.
The E. Robert Williams Inn of Court comprises attorneys, judges, mediators and law students who are significantly involved in the worker's compensation area of law in Northeast Florida. It is the only Inn in Florida dedicated to the worker's compensation practice of law.
After introductions and the custom of the "ringing of the bell" adopted from the Honorable Society of Kings Inn of Ireland to open the meeting, Holley thanked the past presidents and existing members for their participation and dedication to the Inn's past successes.
He welcomed new members, which included attorneys from the area and four students from the Florida Coastal School of Law.
He also provided details regarding the archive project including recognizing past workers' compensation judges, such as Betty Towers Miller and William Lee Durden Jr.
Holley said the project's objectives include researching historical records since 1935; drafting an article regarding the history; creating a public display of news articles, pictures and memorabilia; and hosting a reception for previous workers' compensation attorneys, former judges and their families.
"It is important to preserve our history and especially the models of professionalism from our past. In doing so, we encourage professionalism in the present and the future," Holley said.
During Makar's address, he acknowledged he was becoming more familiar with the nuances of the workers' compensation practice since being appointed to the appeals court in 2012. He noted the high quality of the workers' compensation unit with the district, which assists in the processing of cases.
His discussion addressed some of the internal workings of the court especially in regard to the interaction between the judges in reaching decisions.
"I thought I would not need advocacy skills as much after I was appointed to the court," Makar said. "But the opposite is true. They are just as important, if not more so, in discussing and deciding issues with other judges."
After his speech, Makar was awarded a plaque declaring him an honorary member of the E. Robert Williams Inn.
Pam Wittmann, director of Chapter Relations for the Southeast Region of the American Inns of Court, presented to the Inn the platinum achieving excellence award for 2012-13.
The Inn had received the Gold Achieving Excellence Award for the prior term and had accomplished all the benchmarks necessary during the 2012-13 term to achieve the higher distinction, including sponsoring a visit to the English and Irish Inns of Court in April.
Wittmann said the Inn now joins the other two Inns in Jacksonville as platinum designees, and that only 14 percent of all the Inns of Court in the United States are Platinum Inns.
Holley announced the Inn's charity outreach program would work with the Child Cancer Fund Charity of Jacksonville for term 2013-14. CCF is a Jacksonville-based charity devoted to assisting children and their families through the challenges of childhood cancer.
The E. Robert Williams Inn of Court held its inaugural term 2013-14 banquet Tuesday at Epping Forest Yacht Club in Jacksonville.