REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR
Othni Lathram, Director
|From the Director|
The members of the Alabama State Bar are a generous, engaged, and highly skilled group. They have a tremendous dedication and commitment to improving the state in which they live and practice. It is that spirit that makes it such a joy to report on the work of the Alabama Law Institute each year.
In Fiscal Year 2014 more than 200 lawyers from every corner of Alabama donated 4845 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. It is with a spirit bolstered by the work of so many that humbles me as I have the great honor of reporting on the work of the Law Institute in 2014.
The Alabama Legislature passed four Institute prepared bills during the 2014 Legislative Session: Revised Limited Liability Act of 2015 (Act 2014-144) Sponsored by Representative Paul DeMarco and Senator Rodger Smitherman; UCC Article 9 Amendments (Act 2014-374) Sponsored by Senator Cam Ward and Representative Mike Jones; Title 10A Merger and Conversion Amendments (Act 2014-293) Sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr and Representative Bill Poole; and, Uniform Partition of Heirs Property (Act 2014-299) Sponsored by Senator Jerry Fielding and Representative Marcel Black. It is the passage of acts like these that form the cornerstone of the Institute’s work. The Legislature’s trust in these pieces of legislation is a great testament to the hard work of the many lawyers who work on these projects.
During the 2014 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 nine legislative committees.
The 2014 Session also saw the continuation of the Legislative Intern Program with more than 20 upper level college students participating in the program. In 2013, the Institute updated this program by partnering with a number of Universities to offer classes covering state government and the legislative process so that students can get a full semester of class credit for participating in the internship program. The second year of these partnerships saw a good deal of growth in opportunities for students to get this expanded academic credit.
The third year of the legislative law clerk program was a huge success with students from the University of Alabama, Cumberland and Jones Schools of Law participating and providing research assistance on legislative issues.
In December of 2014 the Law Institute assisted the Legislature in putting on the 2014 Legislative Orientation. The session was held in Montgomery with virtually every legislator in attendance. This past year saw the continuation of the Institute’s work with the Alabama Probate Judges Association. In partnership with the Association the Law Institute help put on four training sessions for Alabama’s Probate Judges. The Institute also published an updated version of Alabama Legislation and worked the Examiners of Public Accounts to update a number of important reference materials for public officials.
Othni J. Lathram
March 5, 2015