Below is the abstract for “Torts in the American Law Institute,” available for download on SSRN.
The American Law Institute (“ALI”) has devoted much attention to tort law. This attention has come in different forms. This chapter labels these, respectively: “ALI in the Mode of Appellate Court,” “ALI in the Mode of Law Reform Commission,” and “ALI in the Mode of Think Tank.” Each of these can be placed along a spectrum of ambitiousness with respect to law reform. None is unambitious. But Appellate Court Mode is tethered to doctrine, Think Tank Mode is untethered, and Law Reform Commission Mode lies somewhere in between. One might suppose that the ALI’s promise – which enables leading academics, in consultation with members of the bench and bar and others, to undertake long-term, large-scale research projects – resides in work at the more ambitious end of the spectrum. However, based on an admittedly impressionistic survey, I will suggest that, in the domain of tort law, the Institute has had important successes when proceeding in the manner of an appellate court, and has courted trouble when operating in the other modes.