May 16, 2011
My First ALI Annual Meeting
Posted by Gordon Smith

I arrived in San Francisco this morning for my first Annual Meeting of the American Law Institute. I have been a member of ALI for five years, but this is the first time I have attended the Annual Meeting. Most of the participants are practicing lawyers, so it's not my usual law conference crowd, but that's actually kind of refreshing. Unfortunately, none of the current ALI projects is in my wheelhouse -- the projects on tap for this year are Model Penal Code: Sentencing; Principles of the Law of Nonprofit Organizations; Restatement of the Law Third, Employment Law; Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm; and Restatement of the Law Third, Trusts -- but the discussion this morning on election law has been interesting and broadening.

The last time ALI touched a topic that was of special interest to me (law of agency), the results were actually quite nice, thanks in large part to Glom Master Deborah Demott (who is sitting nearby), and the Third Restatement is now widely cited by courts. On the other hand, the ALI Principles of Corporate Governance, while interesting as an academic matter, have not had a real-world impact commensurate with the controversy that surrounded their adoption. Obviously, corporate governance has changed dramatically since 1994, when the Principles were adopted, and that change has largely been driven (on the legal side) by actions of Congress, the SEC, and Delaware none of which is particularly susceptible to influence by the ALI.

So where, if anywhere, could ALI be most helpful in the development of business law? Sam Buell from Duke Law just told me that a project on corporate crime may be on the horizon. Good idea?

UPDATE: One member commenting on the Principles of Election Law Project just suggested that the project team look at the experience of corporations with proxy voting over the internet.

Agency Law, Corporate Law | Bookmark

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