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Professor Robert Walsh presides at U.S. Supreme Court ceremony

Professor and Dean Emeritus Robert K. Walsh, the national president of the American Inns of Court, presided at the annual Celebration of Excellence dinner and ceremony at the United States Supreme Court on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Justice Antonin Scalia and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor attended and spoke at the event. The ceremony recognized outstanding lawyers and judges for extraordinary professionalism in their careers.

The ceremony itself took place in the courtroom of the Supreme Court and first honored the 2009 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award recipients in each of the federal judicial circuits. Then the four major awards given annually by the American Inns of Court were presented. The four awards are the Warren E. Burger prize for scholarship in the area of professionalism, the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for excellence in public service or pro bono activities, the A. Sherman Christensen Award given for significant leadership to the American Inn of Court movement and the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Award given for exemplary service to the legal profession. The award ceremony in the courtroom was preceded by a black tie dinner in the Great Hall outside the courtroom hosted by Justice Scalia.

The American Inns of Court has more than 350 local chapters across the United States consisting of more than 27,000 active members and more than 80,000 alumni members. The American Inns of Court will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2010. Professor Walsh is only the second non-judge president of the American Inns of Court.