The American Law Institute (ALI) is a leading, independent, nonprofit organization in the U.S. producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law. ALI was established in 1923 to promote the clarification and simplification of American common law and its adaptation to changing social needs.
ALI is comprised of 4000 lawyers, judges, and law professors of the highest qualifications and they drafts, discusses, revises, and publishes restatements of the law, model statutes, and principles of law that are enormously influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education. By participating in ALI’s work, its eminent members have the opportunity to influence the development of the law in both existing and emerging areas.
ALI membership is considered as a distinct professional honor. The number of members is limited to 3000. The elected membership consists of judges, lawyers, and law teachers from all areas of the U.S. and from many foreign countries, selected on the basis of professional achievement and demonstrated interest in improving the law.
Existing members can recommend membership only those who combine high character and ability, as well as manifest professional standing. Members are eligible to participate in attending annual meetings, submitting comments on drafts, and joining Members Consultative Groups for Institute projects.
ALI drafts and then publishes various restatements of the law and proposals for legal reform. Generally, the projects are assigned as three broad categories: Restatements, Model or Proposed Legislation, or Principles.
Restatements are addressed to courts and others applying existing law. They aim at clear formulations of common law and its statutory elements or variations and reflect the law as it presently stands or might plausibly be stated by a court. Restatement black-letter formulations assume the stance of describing the law as it is.
Model codes or statutes and other statutory proposals are addressed mainly to legislatures, with a view toward legislative enactment. Statutory formulations assume the stance of prescribing the law as it shall be.
Principles may be addressed to courts, legislatures, or governmental agencies. They assume the stance of expressing the law as it should be, which may or may not reflect the law as it is.
Generally, a project is developed in a series of drafts prepared by the Reporter and reviewed by the project’s Advisers and Members Consultative Group, the Council, and the ALI membership. Preliminary Drafts and Council Drafts are available only to project participants and to the Council. Tentative Drafts, Discussion Drafts, and Proposed Final Drafts are publicly available. The project participants are designated by the Institute Director, in consultation with the reporter and subject to approval of the Council or Executive Committee. The Council or Executive Committee constitutes an intellectually and geographically diverse group of practitioners, judges, and scholars. Members Consultative Groups of ALI consist of Institute members with special interest in the project’s subject.
The American Law Institute
4025 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Tel: (215) 243-1600
Fax: (215) 243-1636