Despite the large number of these projects, there exists a relative paucity of published analysis of what is effective and what is not, particularly in relation to the more sophisticated norms governing commercial relations. Although there is a substantial volume of material addressing both the role of and the need for legal institutions as part of legal and judicial reform projects, much less effort seems to have been devoted to just how one might develop those institutions in practice… While this Essay is introductory in its scope and does not seek to give exhaustive answers to each of the issues raised, it is hoped that the observations offered can spur discussion as to how those involved in future state-building attempts might focus their efforts in order to better ensure success. The overarching theme of this Essay is that state-building in general, and development of an effective commercial law in particular, is a science in its infancy and is one about which we know remarkably little. Vastly more needs to be learned and committed in resources. Until that happens, the exercise of trying to create effective commercial law, and thus promote economic development in new states, will be a tricky and elusive goal.