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Washburn University School of Law Library rev. 9/94
[edited/excerpted by The 'Lectric Law Library Staff 8/95]


The American Law Institute was founded in 1923, in order to gather, synthesize, organize and simplify the common law of the United States. The primary tools it uses to attempt these goals are the Restatement of the Law and the Restatement of the Law 2d. Eight of the original Restatement have been reissued in Restatement 2d. Restatement of the Law 3rd covers "The Foreign Relations Law of the United States". Restatement, 3d, of Trusts (Prudent Investor Rule) is a partial revision of the Restatement, 2d, of Trusts.

In addition to the Restatements, the Institute has generated Preliminary Drafts, Council Study Drafts, Council Drafts, Tentative Drafts and Proposed Final Drafts for each of the Restatement of the Law, and Restatement of the Law 2d and 3d subject areas. All of these drafts for the first Restatement are included in the Hein Microfiche set. See below.


The subjects covered in the Restatements are: Agency, Conflict of Laws, Contracts, Foreign Relations Law of the U.S., Judgments, Law Governing Lawyers (Tentative Drafts), Property, Property 2d Donative Transfers, Property 2d Landlord and Tenant, Property 3d Security (Mortgages) (Tentative Drafts), Restitution, Security, Torts, Trusts, and Unfair Competition (Tentative Drafts).

A Restatement attempts to gather and synthesize the case law on a topic, to organize it, and to present the "rules" distilled from the cases. These "rules" are the Institute's attempt of providing "black letter law". Each restated subject area is divided into chapters, and further divided into topics and sections; the sections represent the "black letter law". Typical sections contain the rule of law, comments and illustrations used to clarify the rule, and major exceptions to the rule.


Each Restatement volume has its own index, and there is a one volume, comprehensive index covering all of the Restatement of the Law (first). A comprehensive index is planned for the Restatement 2d, to be issued after the set is completed. The Restatements may also be accessed by topic, using the Table of Contents in each volume.

Additional case annotations to Restatements are provided by supplements, hardbound volumes entitled Restatement in the Courts, through 1976. Since 1976, the annotations appear in appendixes specific to each restated subject area. These too, are hardbound. These appendixes contain West Digest Key Numbers and citations to Lawyers Co-op American Law Reports. The appendixes are updated with the pocket supplements and paper pamphlets titled Restatement in the Courts.

The latest edition of The American Law Institute's publication service is Interim Case Citations to The Restatement of the Law. This semiannual pamphlet is to be used in conjunction with the current Cumulative Annual Supplements and Pocket Parts. The Interim Case Citation provides the user with the Restatement section cited, a description of how the Restatement was applied in the case, the case name, the case citation, the pages on which the Restatement was cited, the name of the court rendering the decision, and the year of the decision.

Another tool which updates the Restatement is Shepard's Restatement of the Law Citations. Used as any other Shepard's, this tool provides citations to cases that appear in the National Reporter System. It is shelved with the Shepard's.

Articles covering Restatements can be located by using the Index to Legal Periodicals on CD-ROM. The Current Law Index is in print format and lists articles under both "American Law Institute", and under the names of the individual Restatements.


Online access to The Restatements, current pocket parts and annual supplements are now available on WESTLAW and are located in the REST database as well as individual topic databases (ie: REST- TORT, REST-JUDG, REST-AGEN, etc.).

Restatements are available in LEXIS. The 10 major areas of the Restatements of the law are retrievable using this library.


William S. Hein & Co., Inc., has published The American Law Institute Archive Publications on microfiche. This prodigious collection contains over one quarter of a million pages. In addition to filming the entire first Restatement of the Law, Hein includes the preliminary drafts, Council Drafts, Tentative Drafts and Proposed Final Drafts. Perhaps most notable is the inclusion of the Institute's Proceedings, some of which have never been officially published. The Proceedings include discussions of the drafts of the Restatement. The availability of the Proceedings will make it much easier to trace history and evolution of particular sections of the Restatements.


American Law Institute. The American Law Institute 50th Anniversary. Philadelphia: American Law Institute, 1973.

Cohen, Morris L. and Berring, Robert C., "Restatements of the Law". In How to Find the Law 395-404. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1989.

Jacobstein, J. Myron and Mersky, Roy M., and Donald J. Dunn "The Restatement of the Law". In Fundamentals of Legal Research 6th ed., 417-421. Westbury N.Y., Foundation Press, Inc., 1994.

Price, Miles O.; Bitner, Harry; and Bysiewicz, Shirley Raissi, "American Law Institute Restatement of the Common Law". In Effective Legal Research 4th ed. 276-279. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1979.

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