Michigan Law Professor J.J. Prescott was elected to membership in the American Law Institute (ALI) in September. ALI membership is one of the most prestigious distinctions for judges, lawyers, and law professors.

“I am humbled and honored by my election,” said Prescott, the Henry King Ransom Professor of Law. “I hugely admire the ALI’s accomplishments and its goal of improving our justice system. I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to ALI’s mission in an active way in the years ahead.” 

He continued, “I would be remiss if I didn’t add that I am very grateful to Michigan Law and my colleagues for their unflagging support of my research and career.” 

Prescott also is co-director of Michigan Law’s Empirical Legal Studies Center and its Program in Law and Economics, and he is a professor of economics. He focuses his research interests on criminal law, sentencing law and reform, employment law, and the dynamics of civil litigation, particularly settlement. Much of his work is empirical in focus. 

He is among the most prolific and influential empirical legal scholars of his generation.”

Kyle Logue
Associate Dean for Faculty and Research

J.J. Prescott is a perfect choice for ALI membership,” said Kyle Logue, the Douglas A. Kahn Collegiate Professor of Law at Michigan Law and associate dean for faculty and research. “He is among the most prolific and influential empirical legal scholars of his generation, well known especially for his contributions in criminal and commercial law. He is also a leader among the scholars and legal reformers exploring how to use technology to improve access to justice and legal decision making.”   

Prescott’s current projects include exploring the role of technology in improving access to justice and legal decision making; studying the consequences of criminal record expungement and record-clearing reform; measuring the importance and role of noncompetition agreements in the US labor force; evaluating the effects of prosecutorial discretion and decision-making on short- and long-term defendant outcomes, including disparities; and investigating the nature and repercussions of partial settlements in litigation. 

He also founded Court Innovations Inc. and developed Matterhorn, an online dispute resolution platform that helps people facing warrants, fines, minor charges, and other legal issues resolve their disputes with the government and other parties online and without the need to hire an attorney. 

ALI members come from all areas of the United States and many foreign countries, selected on the basis of professional achievement and demonstrated interest in improving the law. New members bring their expertise to ALI’s work of clarifying and modernizing the law through Restatements, Principles, and Model Codes. 

“The election of members to the institute is such an important component of our process,” said ALI President David F. Levi. “Each membership class brings with them new insight to our projects, and each member of that class has the opportunity to provide guidance that can have a real impact on ALI’s work.”