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Secondary Sources:
ALRs, Encyclopedias, Law Reviews, Restatements, & Treatises

Secondary sources will help you save time as you begin research on a topic by providing analysis, explanation, and leads to key primary sources.

The Drafting Process

For a short overview of the drafting process for a Restatement, see How the ALI Works.

Parties Involved

  • ALI Officers: a group of approximately ten, including the Chair of the Council, President, Vice Presidents, Treasurer, Director, and Deputy Directors
  • ALI Council: an elected, standing group of approximately sixty judges, professors, and lawyers
  • Reporter: Head of the Restatement project appointed by the ALI Officers and Council, responsible for drafting the language of the Restatement
  • Advisers: Group of professors and lawyers (usually 12-30 for a Restatement) with subject expertise appointed to advise the Reporter
  • Members Consultative Group: Groups of ALI members (usually 50-75 for a Restatement) interested in the topic of a Restatement who wish to offer input
  • ALI Membership: a approximately 3000 ALI members who discuss and ocasionally vote on Restatement language at annual meetings; membership gives input only near the end stages of the drafting process

Drafting Process

The following process typically takes between 9 and 21 years:

  • A Reporter is appointed by the Council
  • The Reporter divides the project into parts that go through the following process separately:
  • The Reporter writes a preliminary draft
  • The Preliminary draft is sent to the Advisers and the Members Consultative Group
  • The Advisers and Members Consultative Group recommend revisions
  • The Reporter, at his/her discretion, makes the revisions
  • The draft goes back and forth between the Advisers and the Reporter and a series of revised preliminary drafts are made
  • The Reporter and Advisers send a council draft to the Council of the Institute
  • The Council suggests revisions
  • The Reporter is somewhat obliged to make the suggested revisions
  • The draft goes back and forth between the Advisors and the Council and a series of council drafts are made
  • The Council presents a tentative draft to the ALI membership
  • The draft goes back and forth between the Council and the Membership and a series of tentative drafts are made
  • Issues surrounding the draft settle and a proposed final draft is usually created
  • The proposed final draft (or last tentative draft) is submitted to the ALI Membership at the annual meeting
  • The Membership and the Council approve the proposed final draft
  • The Restatement is adopted and promulgated and the official text of the Restatement is published

Other ALI-authored works, such as Uniform Commercial Code articles, are created in a similar process. If you want assistance locating materials relating to non-Restatement ALI projects, please ask a research librarian.


Legal researchers sometimes need to trace the historical development of a Restatement section, the impetus for its inclusion, which section of a prior Restatement it derived from, or how it came to be worded a certain way.

For many sections, Reporter's notes explain the development of a section, often explaining earlier versions and citations to cases that were used as the basis for the rule. Reporters notes can be found in the Appendix volumes of individual Restatements.

To trace how the text changed during the drafting process, you can compare various drafts: the tentative drafts, council drafts, preliminary drafts and proposed final drafts. Each draft has its own record in the library catalog. Use the Title Keywords search in Hollis Classic--for example, search restatement torts--to locate them. Drafts are also available in the microform set Archive Publications described below.

Some Restatement volumes contain conversion tables. These tables indicate where sections of drafts or sections from earlier series were included in the final, adopted version of a Restatement.

Although some Restatements are designated 2d or 3d, there are not always antecedents. For instance, the Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers is a Restatement of the Law Third, but there has never been a first or second Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers.

Determining the Current Status of Restatement Drafts

The American Law Institute is continually working on Restatements and other projects. Researchers are often interested in determining whether a Restatement has become final, or what stage the drafting process has reached. The following tools can help answer those questions, as well as provide a history of the development of ALI projects.