The American Law Institute 87th Annual Meeting, May 17-19, 2010. Washington, D.C.

Annual Meeting Blog   

Our Annual Meeting blog, written by members, provides descriptions of the sessions and events, photos, and commentary on the Meeting. More information about our bloggers

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Annual Meeting Final Impressions

Posted By: Mark Stichel | May 20, 2010 | 09:00 PM
This year's Annual Meeting was the third one that I have attended. My
overall impression is that this year's meeting was much calmer than the
previous two were. As much as I enjoyed the spirited debates over the
Restatement of Employment Law and the death penalty in 2008 and 2009, I
also think that having a calm meeting every two or three years is a nice
respite. I don't have a crystal ball, but I would not be surprised if we
see some heated debates in future years as the Model Penal Code Sentencing
project becomes more concrete. This year's discussion of general principles
regarding sentencing was very informative. But, I also could see the seeds
for future disputes. This year definitely felt as if we were at the end of
one era and the beginning of another. Not only did Mr. Boskey retire as
Treasurer, but two projects were completed. We also had a first-time
discussion of potential new projects on Wednesday morning. I am very
heartened that the leadership of the Institute is seeking to increase the
involvement of the membership. Each Annual Meeting is unique, but there
also are some constants over the years. Attendance always wanes as the
week progresses; I enjoy the intimacy of the Wednesday afternoon session.
The dinner and luncheon speakers always are excellent; Seth Waxman and
Christopher Edley gave thought-provoking and memorable addresses. And, the
discussion and debate surrounding the Institute's projects always is erudite
and civil even when there are serious disagreements regarding policy; this
year's discussions and debates may have been calmer but they were no less
excellent than they were in past years. Between last year's Annual Meeting
and this year's Annual Meeting, I attended two MCG meetings and the ALI
reception in San Francisco in February. I recommend highly participating in
the ALI's activities between Annual Meetings. I hope to see some of you
between now and the next Annual Meeting and I look forward to seeing
everyone again in San Francisco in 2011.

First Impressions

Posted By: Scott Maravilla | May 19, 2010 | 03:50 PM
With my first Annual Meeting sadly coming to a conclusion, I wanted to share my thoughts. First, thank you to everyone I 've met over the past three days for making me feel so welcome. Attending the meeting to me was like going to Disneyland for the first time. I had the same feeling of excitement and anticipation.

I had the pleasure of meeting William H. Webster. Well, I held the door open because he had coffee and he said thank you. While true, I introduced myself after the session, and we had a nice talk. I met his wife Lynda who liked that my last name means "marvelous" or "wonderful" in Spanish. I said that I am literally "Mr. Wonderful."

My experience had a very auspicious beginning. I met a member who had been coming to the Annual Meeting since 1936, and whose father was a founding member of the organization. We had a great discussion about some of the history of the organization. A couple of books I plan to pick up are: The Wit and Wisdom of William Hughes Mulligan (a former Judge on the Second Circuit as I recall) and Framing Contract Law by Victor Goldberg. The latter and I had a great discussion on some of the classic cases as well as the curious intersection of contract law and public law in the area of government contracts.

I am already looking forward to next year 's meeting in San Francisco and participating in the MCGs. Finally, thank you to Deanne Dissinger and the rest of the ALI staff for letting me blog.

The Boskey Amendment

Posted By: Scott Maravilla | May 19, 2010 | 03:50 PM
The Boskey Amendment approving the Restatement of the Law (Third) on Restitution and Unjust Enrichment passed unanimously. The historical significance was not lost with references to Lord Mansfield. There was large amounts of well deserved praise for Andrew Kull. John Cameron of Michigan praised Kull 's leadership. Boskey called the Restatement, "A remarkable piece of work for which we are all grateful to the Reporter." Kull received a standing ovation from the room for his work. In a lighter moment, as the proceedings were moving to a close, Douglas Laycock called to the attention of the floor that the membership hadn 't yet voted. Everyone then voted unanimously. I am glad to have been here.

Remarks By Christopher Edley

Posted By: Edan Cohen | May 19, 2010 | 03:30 PM

Please click on a thumbnail to view the full image.

New Project Development Session

Posted By: Edan Cohen | May 19, 2010 | 03:30 PM

Please click on a thumbnail to view the full image.

Restatement of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment

Posted By: Scott Maravilla | May 19, 2010 | 02:50 PM
The session on the Restatement of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment has been very enlightening. Contract law is my law school first love and the area I practice in, so I 've been looking forward to these discussions. In a light moment, there was an exchange between Bennett Boskey and Andrew Kull in which Boskey suggested adding the word "or" to Section 69(3) - Notice - between subsections (a) and (b). Kull responded that he may have been asked previously to take it out.

Dean Edley Addresses Members Luncheon

Posted By: Kirk C. Jenkins | May 19, 2010 | 02:30 PM
Dean Christopher F. Edley, Jr. of the Berkeley School of Law has just
completed a thought-provoking talk, "Civil Rights in the Obama Age," to a
sold-out Members' Luncheon. Dean Edley identified three primary barriers to
racial progress: 1) we live in an age where localism reigns supreme, making
society-wide change difficult; 2) more and more Americans believe that
racism is no longer a fundamental problem; and (3) deepening racial and
economic segregation, together with a waning commitment to integration.

Dean Edley suggested that in the face of these barriers, if the President
wants to pursue a race initiative, he will need a new set of tools. Dean
Edley argued that the best approach might be what he called "regulatory
justice." Regulatory justice is not about a search for the morally culpable
or for malicious intent. Edley pointed out that in areas such as
environmental and financial regulation, policy is built on the proposition
that some conditions simply aren't acceptable. No-fault regulatory justice
is a promising tool, Dean Edley said, because it avoids the pitfalls of the
politics of blame, and yet offers opportunities to attack structural racism,
both in the culture and in institutions. Moving forward, Dean Edley
suggested that President Obama's marquee agenda in the area of race should
be to pursue a wide variety of domestic policy areas -- education, health
care, and financial reform, to take three examples -- with a racial lens in
mind. Americans must search for "better ways to struggle" with racial
issues "every day," Dean Edley concluded, a struggle which a great leader
could help us face.

Dean Edley Calls for Regulatory Justice

Posted By: Kristen D. Adams | May 19, 2010 | 02:30 PM
Speaking to a sold-out crowd at the ALI 's annual membership luncheon, Dean Christopher F. Edley, Jr. of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law urged the adoption of what he termed "regulatory justice" as an effective approach to attack structural racism in a society that has given up on integration as "too hard." Comparing his concept of regulatory justice with the Clean Air Act, Dean Edley described a "no-fault" system that, rather than searching for animus, would focus on the fact of certain happenings (like a lower high-school graduation rate for African American students and other under-represented minorities as compared with majority students) as simply unacceptable. By avoiding the politics of blame and focusing on important societal goals, Dean Edley contended, this country can make some real progress on this important issue.

Arbitration Draft Meets with Resounding Success

Posted By: Kristen D. Adams | May 19, 2010 | 11:00 AM
This was the very first year that a draft of the Restatement (Third) of the United States Law of International Commercial Arbitration was discussed at an Annual Meeting, and all indications are that the project is off to an auspicious start. Just before 11 this morning, the membership gave its enthusiastic approval to Tentative Draft No. 1, which includes Chapter 1 on definitions and Chapter 5 concerning recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards. The Institute’s hope and expectation is that Chapter 5, if approved by the Council in Fall 2010 such that it becomes the official work of the Institute, will begin to influence state and federal courts immediately.


Posted By: Scott Maravilla | May 19, 2010 | 10:09 AM
My fellow blogger Mark Stichel had a great post on Sausages and Restatements referring to Otto von Bismark's quote on those who like laws and sausages should not watch either being made. The quote says a lot about Germany's legislative process at that time. I can't help but agree with Mark on the ALI process. This has been an exciting three days for me (I keep telling people I'm sorry it's only three days). Sitting in these sessions has been a great privilege. As well as the intellectual comments, debates, and the votes, I've enjoyed the sense of humor of some of the participants.

I have to paraphrase one speaker who quoted Edward "Bull" Warren as having said that if Franklin Delano Roosevelt had gone to Harvard Law School instead of Columbia, the country would not be in the mess it's in today. It was well received by the audience.