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Celebrating ALI’s 100th Anniversary

November 02, 2022

Photograph of poster with text. Title: Founding of the American Law Institute
Photograph of poster with text. Title: Founding of the American Law Institute
New exhibition celebrating Penn Carey Law’s contribution to the American Law Institute’s first century is now on view at the Biddle Law Library. Learn more about the Law School’s important role in the development of the ALI.

A new exhibition celebrating the Law School’s contribution to the American Law Institute’s first century is currently on view at the Biddle Law Library now until January 2023.

Since 1923, members of The American Law Institute (ALI) have been on a mission to clarify and simplify the law after finding that the “law is unnecessarily uncertain and complex,” resulting in general dissatisfaction with the administration of justice. ALI’s founding members determined that the law’s uncertainty stemmed in part from a lack of agreement on fundamental principles of the common law, while the law’s complexity was attributed to the numerous variations within different jurisdictions.

While you are likely familiar with ALI’s work, which includes Restatements, the Model Penal Code, and the Uniform Commercial Code, what may remain unclear is how the work comes together. ALI members—judges, lawyers, and academics—represent the profession as a whole, and come together to produce work intended to aid in the administration of justice. The diversity of voice, in all ways, is essential to the work that the Institute produces.

Photograph of standing posters detailing history of the American Law Institute

These works have been produced by ALI for nearly a century, and throughout that time Penn Carey Law faculty have been a valued voice in the process. That relationship continues today. Professors Jill E. Fisch and Kermit Roosevelt currently serve as Reporters on the Restatement of the Law, Corporate Governance, and Restatement of the Law Third, Conflict of Laws, respectively, and Tom Baker served as Reporter on Restatement of the Law, Liability Insurance (Published 2019).

Photograph of display case exhibiting American Law Institute materials

Penn Carey Law has a particular role, not only in the development of ALI’s work, but also its founding. William Draper Lewis, the first full-time dean of the Law School, served as ALI’s founding director from 1923 to 1947. Professor Geoffrey Hazard served as ALI’s director from 1984 to 1999, after serving as a Reporter on Restatement of the Law Second, Judgments.

Before joining ALI as its new deputy director in 2022, Eleanor Barrett L’05 was Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs at Penn Carey Law. The Deputy Director oversees the day-to-day operations of ALI’s Philadelphia headquarters and supports the Director in the Institute’s work. Eleanor succeeded Stephanie Middleton L’81, who served in the role for more than a decade.

For more information contact the Law School’s Archives and Special Collections Department