The Institute's founding Committee recommended that the first undertaking should address uncertainty in the law through a restatement of basic legal subjects that would tell judges and lawyers what the law was. The formulation of such a restatement thus became ALI's first endeavor.
Between 1923 and 1944, Restatements of the Law were developed for Agency, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Judgments, Property, Restitution, Security, Torts, and Trusts. In 1952, the Institute started the Restatement Second - works that covered subjects not included in the first Restatement, as well as new editions of the original Restatements that updated them and reflected new analyses and concepts.
A third series of Restatements was inaugurated in 1987; work on that series continues today. In addition to the initial subjects, the Restatements now include Foreign Relations Law of the United States, The Law Governing Lawyers, Suretyship and Guaranty, and Unfair Competition.
The Institute also engages in intensive examination and analysis of legal areas thought to need reform. This type of study generally culminates in extensive recommendations for change in the law and usually is published as Principles of the Law. These projects have dealt with topics such as Aggregate Litigation, Corporate Governance, Family Dissolution, Software Contracts, Transnational Civil Procedure, Transnational Insolvency, and Transnational Intellectual Property, as well as a proposed revision of selected portions of the Federal Judicial Code.
For more than half a century, ALI has collaborated with the Uniform Law Commission in developing and monitoring the Uniform Commercial Code, a comprehensive code addressing most aspects of commercial law. Other Institute projects have resulted in the development of model statutory formulations, including the Model Code of Evidence and the Model Penal Code.
Visit the Projects page to learn about our current projects.