JOTWELL—the Journal of Things We Like (Lots)—published “Top-Down Versus Bottom-Up Law Reform in Trusts and Estates: Future Interests and Perpetuities” by HLS Professor Robert Sitkoff on Nov. 22.

In the essay, Sitkoff discusses the two typical patterns of trusts and estates law reform. “In the first, which we can characterize as top-down,” he writes, “the American Law Institute or the Uniform Law Commission sponsors a reform through a new Restatement or Uniform Law, often but not always prepared in concert. Top-down reforms are typically designed to update the law in accord with emerging academic and elite practitioner policy consensus on necessary revision to the canon.”  In the other pattern, “which we can describe, as bottom-up,” he continues, “local bankers and lawyers lobby state lawmakers for a specific reform. Bottom-up reforms are usually meant to attract trust business (think perpetual or asset protection trusts), but not always.”

Read the rest of the essay here

Robert H. Sitkoff, the John L. Gray Professor of Law, joined the HLS faculty in 2007. His principal research focus is economic and empirical analysis of the law of trusts and estates. His work has been published in leading scholarly journals such as the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review and the Journal of Law and Economics. Sitkoff is a co-author of “Wills, Trusts, and Estates,” the leading American coursebook on trusts and estates.

In addition to his research and teaching, Sitkoff is an active participant in trusts and estates law reform. Sitkoff serves under gubernatorial appointment on the Uniform Law Commission, for which he is a member of the Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Trusts and Estates Acts, the principal oversight body for all uniform laws in the field. He is also a member of the drafting committee that is revising the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act, and he served as the reporter for the Uniform Statutory Trust Entity Act (2009).

He was recently elected an Academic Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a national professional organization who specialize in trusts and estates.