Each year it is a privilege to report on the work of the Alabama Law Institute. I am again humbled by the generosity of so many members of the Alabama State Bar that make this work possible. “Lawyers Render Service” is not just a motto, but a truth that shines through the dedication of so many who go above and beyond because they are committed to improving the law in the state in which they live and practice.

In Fiscal Year 2018 more than 150 lawyers from all parts of Alabama donated 2,800 hours of time working on Law Institute drafting committees. This time does not include the time spent by the Law Institute Council and Membership reviewing, commenting on, and improving those drafts prior to submission to the Alabama Legislature for consideration.

The remarkable consistency of the dedication of the lawyers and legislatures who help the Law Institute fulfill its mission is tremendous. The three pillars of the Law Institute—code revision, legislative service, and education—continue to thrive thanks to the many lawyers, legislators, and local officials who help make each year better than the last.

2018 Legislation

The Alabama Legislature passed three Institute prepared bills during the 2017 Session: the Alabama General Partnership Act, sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr and Representative Bill Poole; the Alabama Voidable Transactions Act, sponsored by Senator Rodger Smitherman and Representative Matt Fridy; Amendments to the Alabama Uniform Condominium Act, sponsored by Senator Rodger Smitherman and Representative Chris England; and the Alabama Uniform Decanting Act, sponsored by Senator Greg Albritton and Representative Paul Beckman. Bills like these update and modernize Alabama’s law and keep the State at the forefront of legal jurisprudence in areas like these. The Legislature’s trust in these four pieces of legislation is a great testament to the legal work of the many lawyers who met for many hours and painstakingly pored through the emerging law to reach a consensus on how the bills should be drafted.

Legislative Services

During the 2018 Legislative Session, the Institute again provided legal services to a number of legislative committees and to individual legislators. In addition to the Institute staff, outside lawyers were hired to assist with eight legislative committees.

The Legislative Intern Program exposed a number of student interns to the legislative process of state government. Student interns work thirty-two hours per week in the State House in Montgomery. Many of these student interns received academic credit for their participation.

The Legislative Law Clerk Program continues to be successful with upper level law students providing research assistance on legislative issues.

Legal Education

The Institute, together with the Alabama Probate Judges Association, put on four continuing legal education seminars around the state providing opportunities for Probate Judges to stay updated on legal trends around the country and reinforce their knowledge of current Alabama law.

The Institute also published new editions of several books: Alabama Legislation, the Handbook for Alabama Sheriffs, the Handbook for Alabama Probate Judges, the Handbook for Alabama Tax Administrators, and the Alabama Government Manual.

Othni J. Lathram
February 2019