Linking these two iconic institutions in American law might seem strange at first glance. As we all know, the ALI is the most prominent law reform organization in the United States. Its charter states that it was established “to promote the clarification and simplification of the law.” The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation is the bane of every law review editor’s existence and the most important force in promoting consistency in legal citations.
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.”
I will focus on a different, less discussed front: federal common law. The ALI’s influence on this front is more recent.