The Contemporary Property Course: A Study of Syllabi
Roberta Rosenthal Kwall
DePaul University - College of Law
Jerome M. Organ
University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota)
Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 47, 1997
Property, perhaps more than any other first-year course, comprises a variety of distinct subject areas. To put the matter more colorfully, Property frequently offers students a plate of appetizers rather than a full meal. Property really is the introductory vehicle to a multitude of upper-level courses, including estates or wills and trusts, real estate transactions, land use and zoning, and housing law. In addition, teachers often weave into Property significant strands of other subjects, such a jurisprudence, intellectual property, environmental law, family law, torts, and constitutional law. Because Property can include such a range of material, planning the syllabus can be a danting task, even for a seasoned teacher.
The Property Section of the AALS holds a major conferernce every five years. In preparation for the 1997 conference, we thought it would be useful to make a study of Propery syllabi. We received 40 syllabi from 37 schools. Although we make no claim to scientific accuracy and have no assurance that our small sampling was truly representative, we believe our findings are nonetheless instructive.
The purpose of this Article is twofold. First, it documents the findings about the syllabi that we reported at the conference, particularly in comparing coverage reflected in the syllabi with coverage reflected in a 1976 survey of Property teachers. Second, it suggests some broader issues of coverage in first-year Property which grew not only out of our presentations specifically, but also out of the conference generally.
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Date posted: November 18, 2005