New: Drafting Chapter 2 of the ALI's Employment Law Restatement in the Shadow of Contract Law: An Assessment of the Challenges and Results

By Robert A. Hillman

The American Law Institute (ALI) has just completed the Restatement of the Law Third, Employment Law. Chapter 2 is entitled "Employment Contracts: Termination." As the name suggests, the Chapter focuses on the law's difficult challenge of applying contract law to distinguish lawful terminations of employees from wrongful ones. The question is especially problematic because, on the one hand, employment law's long-existing default rule allows employers to terminate employees "at will" and without cause. Advocates of the at-will doctrine present several policies to support it, including freedom of contract and efficiency. On the other hand, employers seek to attract talented employees and, once employed, establish an "orderly, cooperative and loyal work force." Toward that end, numerous judicial decisions and scholarly research reveal unsurprisingly that employers design their communications to attract employees and create loyal workers. It is no wonder, then, that contract law's ...

Robert A. Hillman Edwin H. Woodruff Professor of Law
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Contact Information

Cornell Law School
220 Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

Phone: (607) 255-4902
Fax: (607) 255-7193


Bonnie Jo Coughlin
Cornell Law School
213 Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

Professional Biography

Robert Hillman has written extensively on contracts and contract theory, the Uniform Commercial Code, and related jurisprudence. His articles have appeared in the Stanford, NYU, Columbia, Chicago, Michigan, Northwestern, Duke, and Cornell law reviews, and he is the author of The Richness of Contract Law (1997) and a coauthor of the Sixth Edition of White, Summers, and Hillman, Uniform Commercial Code (2012 through 2014).

A 1972 graduate of Cornell Law School, Professor Hillman clerked for the Hon. Edward C. McLean and the Hon. Robert J. Ward, both U.S. District Judges for the Southern District of New York. After private practice with Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City, he began his teaching career at the University of Iowa College of Law. Hillman joined the Cornell Law School Faculty in 1982, and, in addition to teaching and authoring or co-authoring several major contracts and commercial law works, he served as Associate Dean from 1990-1997.

An arbitrator, consultant on commercial litigation, and the Reporter for the American Law Institute's Principles of the Law of Software Contracts, Professor Hillman teaches contracts, commercial law, and the law of e-commerce. He also teaches a class on the nature, functions, and limits of law for Cornell University's Government Department.


A.B., University of Rochester, 1969
J.D., Cornell Law School, 1972