Professors Hill, Painter & Ponomarenko Take on Key Leadership Roles in ALI Projects

May 27, 2021

The American Law Institute has, for nearly a century, brought together federal and state judges, prominent lawyers, and law professors to clarify and simplify the law, and secure the better administration of justice. ALI projects include Restatements, primarily addressed to courts, Principles, primarily addressed to legislatures, administrative agencies and private actors, and Codes, intended to be enacted by legislatures. One ALI project was the Model Penal Code, which became the foundation for criminal law in more than half of the United States. Twenty seven Minnesota Law faculty members are part of this prestigious organization.

Three Minnesota Law professors—Claire Hill, Richard Painter, and Maria Ponomarenko—have all taken on key leadership roles as associate reporters for three different ALI projects.

Claire Hill and Richard Painter
Claire Hill and Richard Painter
The project for which Professor Hill serves as associate reporter, Principles of the Law, Compliance and Enforcement for Organizations, got final approval at ALI’s annual meeting earlier this month. The project, which started in 2015, sets forth best practices for organizations’ compliance functions, and their risk management as it pertains to compliance risk. It also recommends best practices for enforcement policies of prosecutors, and regulatory authorities as to compliance.   


“Compliance is a very important topic right now,” says Hill, especially given the many well-publicized compliance failures. It is a subject of great interest to companies and their lawyers, and to regulators.  Hill had primary responsibility for the chapter on compliance risk management, which considers how compliance risk should fit into a company’s overall management of all of its risks.  

“The field of compliance is growing rapidly,” said Hill.  “As a law professor, I’m especially excited about all of the excellent employment opportunities it can provide for students.”

Hill says she especially enjoyed incorporating into her work insights from the psychological literature on how risk arises, why it’s hard to detect, and what to do about it.

‘Real-World Punch’

Professor Ponomarenko is an associate reporter on ALI’s Principles of the Law, Policing project. Twelve of the project’s 14 chapters have been approved by the ALI membership. 

As Ponomarenko characterizes it, “The goal of this project is to establish a set of principles for regulating all aspects of policing—ranging from searches and seizures and the use of force, to internal and external accountability systems. It’s a comprehensive set of guidelines to make sure policing is equitable, effective, and minimally harmful.”

Professor Painter’s project, which focuses on government ethics, began in 2009. Significant portions of the draft have already been approved by ALI’s membership, and additional chapters will be presented to the membership at this year’s annual meeting. Professor Kevin Reitz was the reporter on the Model Penal Code: Sentencing, a project that obtained final approval at the 2017 Annual Meeting. 

Maria Ponomarenko, Associate Professor, Faculty
Maria Ponomarenko
A project begins when it is approved by the ALI’s Council.  Eventually, after considerable input from an advisory group and interested members who join a “consultative group,” the project is submitted for approval by the ALI Council; upon council approval, the project is submitted for approval by the ALI membership. Only then can a project be an “ALI project.” 


“These projects are sources of model legislation or summaries of existing law across various areas,” explains Ponomarenko. “They aren’t binding, but they’re influential.”

The use of force principles from Ponomarenko’s project were used as the basis for legislation adopted in California in 2019, as well as individual agency policies. 

Ponomarenko is also spearheading a national project, in partnership with the Policing Project at New York University Law School, to draft model legislation based on the ALI policing principles. “If we want the principles adopted into law, we have to provide a foundation of model legislation,” she says. “That ultimately may be the piece that has the most real-world punch.”

—By Dan Heilman, a Twin Cities-based freelance writer.

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