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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U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration

Posted By: Scott Maravilla | May 19, 2010 | 10:00 AM
The U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration discussion is on the last section of the chapter and wrapping up. I've sat through the entire discussion, and the comments have been very insightful. The Reporters have done an excellent job, and I'm looking forward to participating on the MCG.

Thank You

Posted By: Scott Maravilla | May 19, 2010 | 09:59 AM
I would like to take a moment to thank and say kudos to the ALI staff running the blog. The posts are going up very fast. Keep up the great work.

U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration

Posted By: Scott Maravilla | May 19, 2010 | 09:59 AM
While the discussion on the Restatement on the U.S. Law of International Commercial Arbitration, I want to note a few more of the suggestions for new projects. Professor Camp also raised Cyberlaw. He pointed out that there is a "huge engine" of economic trade in currencies that are traded and converted into national currencies. He said that there is not a lot of law in this area.

Election law came up as a potential project a few times. A member from my home state of Texas (I apologize for not catching the name but is a judge) thought that a Restatement discussing campaign finance and elections would provide a great deal of guidance.

Possible Topics for Future Projects

Posted By: Scott Maravilla | May 19, 2010 | 09:41 AM
This is a session that has been of particular interest to me as a new member. I've been looking at the number of projects that have been completed over the past few years and wondered what would be next. The conversation has been robust so far, and, unfortunately, I am not a fast enough typist to cover all of the speaker's comments. I am going to highlight a few of the proposals.

Religion and the Law was raised as a potential topic. Arising from this discussion was a recommendation for Douglas Laycock's book on religious freedom available on I will be adding this to my wish list after the Annual Meeting.

Brian Camp of Texas Tech Law School urged the creation of a Listserv or a Wiki (Wikipedia) as process suggestion for consideration to further engage members. He also seconded an earlier proposal for ALI to undertake an Administrative Law project. This could range from a modest project dealing with just Chevron to the placement of agencies in a greater governance framework. This is a suggestion I am particularly enthused about because it is what I do for a living, and immediately see Professor Camp's point that there is some confusion present in some of the opinions out there. From the perspective of the administrative judiciary, I think such a project would be invaluable to all practicing in this area.

Process Ideas for New Projects

Posted By: Kristen D. Adams | May 19, 2010 | 09:39 AM
In addition to the active discussion of various potential topics for new projects, several attendees of this morning’s special forum on new projects shared ideas as to how the ALI might most effectively gather information from – and disseminate information to – the membership. One member suggested that the ALI survey the membership to learn more about the group’s collective expertise and interests. President Roberta Cooper Ramo responded with enthusiasm to the idea, adding that the Institute’s Technology Committee is in the process of exploring various ways to gather this information. Other process ideas from the floor were to employ listservs to facilitate the discussion of project drafts and to use the website ( to make project drafts available to all members in a secure fashion, not just those who are part of the Members Consultative Group or Advisers for a given project.

Active Discussion at the New Projects Meeting

Posted By: Kirk C. Jenkins | May 19, 2010 | 09:39 AM
The session on new projects has been a real tribute to the membership -- the
session is heavily attended, and every microphone in the room has seen a
steady traffic of members during the hour. Multiple members have urged the
Institute to address campaign finance in the Institute's new project on
Election Law. Other interesting suggestions for new projects include the
Law of War, the impact of science on the law, Administrative Law, Sovereign
Immunity, Cyber-Law and Federal Preemption.

Annual Reception & Dinner

Posted By: Edan Cohen | May 19, 2010 | 09:30 AM

Please click on a thumbnail to view the full image.

New Projects and Directions for the Future

Posted By: Kristen D. Adams | May 19, 2010 | 09:20 AM
At 8:30 this morning, the Institute held a meeting to discuss possible topics for future projects. In addition to the almost two dozen ideas that had already been submitted to the ALI and were distributed in list form to all attendees, early ideas from the floor included a Restatement of the Law of Nuisance, an exploration of Religion and the Law, Disability Law, Administrative Law, and Judicial Review and Interpretation of Legislation.
In addition to the discussion of specific project ideas, some of this morning’s discussion centered more generally on what makes an ALI project succeed. As one speaker mentioned, the most successful ALI projects invariably benefit from the contributions of at least two groups of members: first, the specialists who become intimately familiar with a project and follow it carefully from its beginning, and second, the members who are specialists in other areas and who may not follow the project as closely but who often contribute valuable perspectives that could otherwise go unnoticed. The role of nonlawyers – such as economists – in the Institute’s work was also discussed. Several speakers also exhorted the Institute to continue its proud tradition of taking on tough issues with a thoughtful, disciplined approach.

New ALI Projects

Posted By: Kirk C. Jenkins | May 19, 2010 | 09:00 AM
This morning's special session on new ALI projects is under way. Director
Lance Liebman has announced that work is resuming on the Restatement (Third)
of Torts: Economic Torts and Related Wrongs with Reporter Professor Ward
Farnsworth. A few more details about the Institute's new project on
insurance law are also available in the meeting handout. Principles of
Liability Insurance Law is expected to consist of three chapters: Principles
of Contract Law in the Liability insurance Context, Principles of Liability
Coverage, and Principles of Management of Insured Liabilities.

Experience Matters

Posted By: Nicole B. Cásarez | May 18, 2010 | 11:30 PM
Elena Kagan's legal and political experience will serve her and the country well when she is confirmed as a Justice of the Supreme Court, according to former solicitor general Seth Waxman. Mr. Waxman addressed a full house on Tuesday night as the keynote speaker at the 87th ALI Annual Dinner, where he both praised Ms. Kagan's qualifications and honored John Paul Stevens, the Justice who, if confirmed, Ms. Kagan will replace.
Originally, Ms. Kagan had agreed to speak at the annual dinner, but understandably had to cancel. "It's not a bad thing when the speaker for the ALI can't come because she's been nominated by the President to the Supreme Court," ALI President Roberta Ramo told the crowd.
Mr. Waxman emphasized his belief that serving as solicitor general was great preparation for the high court, noting that Justices Thurgood Marshall, Stanley Reed, William Howard Taft and Robert Jackson were all former solicitors general. By the same token, he said that it has never been, and should not be, a prerequisite that a Supreme Court Justice have been an appellate judge. In fact, he noted that many of our finest Justices, including Earl Warren, John Marshall, Robert Jackson, Hugo Black, John Marshall Harlan and Byron White, had not been appellate judges before their nominations to the Court.
"The country needs and deserves a Court that reflects the wisdom and experience of people from broad walks of life," Mr. Waxman said.
Ms. Kagan has the potential to be a great Supreme Court Justice, something Mr. Waxman said she 'd have to be to fill the shoes of Justice John Paul Stevens. Mr. Waxman noted that he has argued many cases in front of Justice Stevens, which he described as both a "rare pleasure and a genuine terror." Justice Stevens has the unerring ability to ask what Mr. Waxman described as the unanticipated question that turned out to be the linchpin of the case. He praised Justice Stevens as a consummate common law judge who pays close attention to the facts and decides cases one at a time. In particular, Mr. Waxman commended Justice Stevens ' substantive restraint and procedural modesty.
"I will miss him and so will everyone who litigates in front of the Supreme Court," he said.

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