The Harry Phillips AIC was founded in 1990 in Nashville. It was the 120th American Inn of Court in the United States. From 1990 to 2011, approximately 400 lawyers, judges, law professors, and law students living and working in Middle Tennessee have been members of the Harry Phillips AIC. American Inns of Court are permitted to have a specialized focus, and the original focus of the Harry Phillips AIC was on civil litigation. In recent years, the executive committee has expanded the Inn’s focus to include litigation and trial techniques, with an emphasis on civil litigation and other practice issues.
As one of its first official acts, the Inn adopted the name Harry Phillips American Inn of Court in honor of the late Judge Harry Phillips, Chief Judge Emeritus of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Phillips was born in 1909 in Watertown, Tennessee.
Judge Phillips joined the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in July 1963. He served as chief judge from 1969 until 1979 when he took senior status. During his judicial career, Judge Phillips wrote over 500 majority opinions and numerous law review articles. He also wrote several books including a history of the Phillips family, “The History of the Sixth Circuit,” and the third and fourth editions of Pritchard on Wills and Estates.
Judge Phillips had many other professional accomplishments, but above all these, he was known as a person of humanity and humility. In 1986, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit named its Nashville satellite library after Judge Phillips in recognition of his lifelong commitment to legal scholarship. Four years later, Nashville’s first American Inn of Court named itself after Judge Phillips, recognizing that he epitomized the qualities of competence, collegiality, and commitment to justice that are at the heart of the Inn’s mission.