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 2019 more than 175 lawyers from all parts of Alabama donated 3,100 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.

2019 Legislation

The Alabama Legislature passed five Institute prepared bills during the 2019 Session: the Alabama Collateral Consequences Act, sponsored by Senator Cam Ward and Representative Chris England; the Alabama Business Corporation Revisions, sponsored by Senator Sam Givhan and Representative Bill Poole; Amendments to the Alabama Limited Liability Company Law, sponsored by Senator Rodger Smitherman and Representative Chris England; the Administrative Director of Courts Nominating Commission, sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr and Representative Prince Chestnut; and the Permanent Place Names for Appellate Courts Act, sponsored by Senator Rodger Smitherman and Representative Matt Fridy. Additionally, the Alabama Legislature approved the Institute-prepared Judicial Administration and Discipline Constitutional Amendment, sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr and Representative Prince Chestnut. This proposed amendment will now appear for ratification on the 2020 statewide election ballot. Legislation like this updates and modernizes Alabama’s law and keep the State at the forefront of American jurisprudence in a variety of areas. The Legislature’s trust in these six pieces of legislation is a great testament to the legal work of the many lawyers who met for many hours and painstakingly poured through the emerging law to reach a consensus on how the bills should be drafted.

Legislative Services

During the 2019 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 three 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.

Additionally, in October the Institute held its semi-annual Alabama Election Conference for probate judges, sheriffs, circuit clerks, and the board of registrars. In conjunction with the conference, the Institute also unveiled the new 19th Edition of the Alabama Election Handbook.

2020 Legislation

Looking ahead into 2020, the Institute anticipates offering five bills to the Alabama Legislature: The Alabama Court Cost Commission Amendment, Amendments to the Business and Nonprofit Entities Code, the Alabama Qualified Dispositions in Trust Act, the Alabama Model Procurement Code, and the Alabama Non-Disparagement Obligations Act. We look forward to a great start to the new decade as we look to build on these offerings with further work from our committees for the years ahead.

Clay Hornsby
Deputy Director
January 2020

Legislative Services Agency
Alabama State House
11 South Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130