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The Restatement of the Common Law by the American Law Institute, 15 Iowa Law Review 19 (1929)


The organization of the American Law Institute grew out of discussions at the annual meetings of the Association of American Law Schools. These discussions began more than ten years ago. The teachers of law composing that Association had become increasingly impressed with the growing complexity and uncertainty of the common law. The thousands of new decisions annually added to our already bursting storehouses of learning were making it continually more difficult to understand, to state, and to teach the common law. To the same extent and for the same reasons the work of the practicing lawyer in advising clients and the work of the judges in deciding cases were becoming increasingly difficult. Necessarily, this situation was reflected in the published opinions of the judges. Uncertainty of mind produced confused reasoning and actual conflict in decision. Legal terminology, always shifty and inexact as in the case of all the other branches of social science, became more and more inefficient in obtaining clarity of expression and more unsatisfactory to everybody concerned, as the strain upon it was increased by the rapidity and complexity of modern life.

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