This article provides a selective perspective on The American Law Institute, a private law reform organization established in 1923, and particular processes by which it performs its work in developing restatements of the law.
Two U.S. Courts of Appeals recently cited the Restatement of the Law Third, Torts. The First Circuit cited the Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Products Liability § 4 and the Seventh Circuit cited Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm §§ 27 and 34. Summaries of those opinions are provided below.
At its January meeting, the Council approved the launch of the final three components of the Restatement Third of Torts. The projects tentatively are titled: Remedies; Defamation and Privacy; and Concluding Provisions. With these projects, the ALI aims to complete an effort that began nearly three decades ago, when we started work on the Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Products Liability. And when these projects are completed, the ALI will have produced a body of work that entirely supersedes the Restatement Second of Torts.
ALI is proud to announce the launch of Reasonably Speaking, our new podcast featuring conversations with experts on some of the most important legal topics of our time. The first two episodes are available now.
Two Restatement projects, Economic Harm Torts and Liability Insurance, were reviewed and approved for the final time by ALI membership at the 2018 Annual Meeting, marking the completion of both projects.
The American Law Institute has been selected to be profiled by Visionaries Inc. for its upcoming 23rd season.
The diversity of experience and opinion in our membership, as well as the character and motivation of individual members, are an important part of what makes our work influential. With such diversity, disagreement is inevitable, but the vision of the founders of the ALI was that members would view their participation as a public service, and not as in the service of the self or of clients. And this should inform members on how we are to engage in the work of the ALI.
For all of us, the ALI has been a meaningful and special organization. Since my election, much has changed in law practice, and much has changed at the Institute as well. One of those changes—a change that is profound and will have far-reaching effects—is the need for all of us in the profession to work and think effectively as leaders and team members in the practice of law.
I consider a Restatement in general to be an exercise in harnessing collective wisdom, not the wisdom of a Reporter. It’s an attempt to gather the collective wisdom of the courts in this country on various difficult questions, and the collective wisdom of the bench, the bar, and the legal academy in making sense out of what the courts have said.
In 1992, ALI completed the Restatement (Third) of Trusts: Prudent Investor Rule, which made several key changes to the law of trusts contained in the Restatement (Second), each under the rubric of a new “prudent investor rule.”