Real Imaginary = Complex: Toward a Better Property Course

66 Journal of Legal Education 930 (2017)

Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-35

27 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2017 Last revised: 31 Aug 2017

Date Written: August 2, 2017

Abstract

“Property” in most law schools means real property: the dense, illogical, and special-purpose body of land law. But this is wrong: property also comes in personal, intangible, and intellectual flavors—all of them more important to modern lawyers than land. Real property is deeply unrepresentative of property law, and focusing our teaching on it sells the subject short. A better property course would fully embrace these other forms of property as real property’s equals. Escaping the traditional but labyrinthine classifications of real property frees teachers to bring out the underlying conceptual coherence and unity of property law. The resulting course is easier to teach, more enjoyable for students, and more relevant to legal practice. There is no excuse not to switch.

Keywords: property, real property, personal property, intellectual property, intangible property, legal education

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Grimmelmann, James, Real Imaginary = Complex: Toward a Better Property Course (August 2, 2017). 66 Journal of Legal Education 930 (2017); Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-35. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3012955

James Grimmelmann (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

Cornell Tech ( email )

111 8th Avenue #302
New York, NY 10011
United States

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