In April, 2015, Robin Craig, Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, was elected as a member of the American Law Institute (ALI). Craig, one of only 83 new members elected nationally, is joining an elite group of 2,778 ALI members. Professor Leslie Francis described Craig’s honor as “a fitting testament to her internationally known scholarship and her commitment to improving the law through research, teaching, and service. It is very nice to have an expert on sustainability elected to the high honor of membership in the ALI.”
In the interview below, Craig details how she became a member and describes the effect membership might have on her teaching and research.
Q: First, congratulations! Most of our readers already know a little about ALI and understand that it publishes Restatements of the Law and model statutes. Probably fewer understand how a nomination is approved or how a new member joins a committee. Can you provide an overview?
A: Membership in the ALI is limited, and new members have to be nominated by an existing member, then get letters of support from two additional members. A screening committee reviews the nominations to approve those it wants to forward to the ALI Council for a vote at one of its formal meetings. I was voted in at the ALI Council’s April 2015 meeting.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish through your ALI membership? Which projects are you hoping or planning to work on?
A: I’m very much looking forward to meeting more of my fellow ALI members and hopefully to help shape the law. Of the ALI’s existing projects, I’m hoping to become involved in either the Restatement (4th) of Property Law project or the new Restatement of the Law of American Indians. In the future, I’d like to see if the ALI would be willing to take on an environmental or climate change project.
Q: Do you foresee your membership in ALI influencing your scholarship or approach to teaching? If so, how?
A: Well, I teach various aspects of the Restatements in a variety of classes — Environmental Law, Water Law, and of course Property — and it will be nice to gain insight into how they are put together and the extent to which ALI authors are trying to influence future directions in the law. If I do get involved in the Law of American Indians project, that will help to develop an emerging theme of native peoples and the environment in my scholarship.
Q: And finally, do you believe your involvement in the College of Law’s natural resources and environmental law programs played a role in your nomination?
A: Associate Dean Leslie Francis spearheaded my nomination process, which reflects very well on the entire College of Law, including the environmental law program with which she is affiliated. I’m hoping that my election gives both our Program in Environment, Land and Resources and the entire College of Law increased national exposure.