ABA president named as honorary bencher

American Bar Association President William C. Hubbard was called to the Bench as a Master of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in London. Hubbard, a partner with the Columbia, S.C., office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, received the honor in a ceremony Tuesday night.

The Middle Temple is one of the four Inns of Court in London exclusively entitled to call their student members to the English Bar as barristers. The Inn is governed by its Masters (also known as Benchers), who are elected from senior members of the bar and judiciary. Of the Inn's roughly 600 Benchers, the majority are Queen's Counsel, senior barristers appointed by the Crown for their eminence as advocates.

Honorary Benchers, such as Hubbard, include Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., British Prime Minister, David Cameron, individuals involved in the arts and members of the Royal Family - currently Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Sir Walter Raleigh and the great English legal scholar William Blackstone also were Benchers. Five members of Middle Temple signed the Declaration of Independence, seven were signatories to the United States Constitution.

"It is a distinct privilege and a highlight of my professional career to be honored by Middle Temple," said Hubbard. "I have always had great admiration for the Inn and the work it does. I am profoundly grateful to my fellow Benchers for doing me this honor."

Middle Temple Benchers from the United States have included, in addition to Chief Justice Roberts, William Howard Taft, Warren E. Burger, William H. Rehnquist, several American Ambassadors to the Court of St. James and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Currently, the Inn has about 100 Honorary Benchers.

The Middle Temple was founded in medieval times (its Hall, where the ceremony took place was built in 1570 and Shakespeare performed in it) and its core purposes are still based on the principles set out in the Royal Charter of 1608:

- Education and training of students and barristers

- Promotion of diversity and access to the Bar through financial support and other means

- Achievement of the highest standards of advocacy in support of the judiciary and the rule of law

- Promotion of the ethos of the Bar

- Maintenance of the highest professional standards in the public interest

Hubbard was in London with 900 ABA members and guests for the association's celebration of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. On Monday, Mr. Hubbard, along with Princess Anne, rededicated the ABA Memorial to Magna Carta in Runnymede, one of the events in a celebration attended by Queen Elizabeth, Prince William and Prime Minister Cameron.

Published: Mon, Jun 22, 2015


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