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He joked that he felt idle because he had taken part in no more than about 25 cases that year and that he would start another job if he could find one. Hand was also a founding member of the American Law Institute where he helped develop the influential Restatements of the Law serving as models for refining and improving state codes in various fields. Hand's skepticism extended to his political philosophy: he once described himself as "a conservative among liberals and a liberal among conservatives".
Scholars have recognized the Second Circuit under Hand as one of the finest appeals courts in the country's history. After a short career as a lawyer in Albany and New York City he was appointed as a Federal District Judge in Manhattan in 1909 at the age of 37. Hand possessed a gift for the English language and his writings are admired as legal literature.