Property



SLN #: 15915
Course Prefix: LAW-523
Course Section: 002
Credit Hours: 4
Instructor(s): Wiecek

Course Description:
The joy of Property. Yes, I said “joy” and I mean it. I hope that you will find Property to be the most stimulating course in your 1L experience. In the second edition of their classic Property casebook (1969), James Casner and Barton Leach wrote: “We wonder why all of our colleagues are not fighting to get a chance to teach the first-year property course. We can only surmise that they want to live more sheltered lives. We do not envy them.” Leach was my Future Interests teacher when I was in law school, and I share his zest for the Property course. I hope you will come to do so, too.

Course description: The first-year Property course studies the legal relationships among people who claim some ownership or possessory interest in real or personal property (including Intellectual Property). This course will focus mainly on real property (land and buildings), though we will briefly discuss personal property as well. (Regrettably, in a four-hour course, we will not have time even to introduce Intellectual Property, which I must leave for advanced courses in that subject.) See the accompanying List of Subjects for a more detailed itemization of topics to be covered in the course.

You will learn early in the course that Property (whether real, personal, or intangible) has five fundamental characteristics: you can acquire it; you can use it; you can dispose of it; you can exclude others from it; and you can call upon the law (i.e., the force of the state) to protect the preceding four claims. Those five characteristics are what this course is all about.

The first-year Property course teaches both the substantive content of the common law of Property and basic legal skills, such as reading cases and synthesizing doctrine. The first (substantive content) we will address directly in class; the second (analytical skills) is what you teach yourself as you prepare for class.

Course objectives:
1) to convey knowledge and understanding of the substantive law of Property, both real and personal;
2) to help you understand why the rules of Property law have become what they are today, partly through historical explanation;
3) to provide a vehicle for developing first-year skills, such as understanding cases or creating structures of legal doctrine; and
4) to enable you to do well on the Real Property questions in the bar exam, wherever you may take it.

Additional Information:
Credit Hours: 4
Grading Option: Numeric Grade or Letter Grade Only
Graduation Writing Requirement: No
Flexible Writing Requirement: No
Skills Requirement: No
Final Exam Given: Yes
Final Exam Type: In-Class
Mid Term or Other Exam: Yes, Midterm
Participation Points: Yes
Attendance Policy: Per Statement of Student Policies
Additional Attendance Policy: Attendance is required
Online Course Site: Blackboard