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About the Book

Property: Cases, Problems, and Skills

Front Cover - Property: Cases, Problems, and Skills

Christine A. Klein
University of Florida 

2016. 832 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4548-6803-3.

With Teacher's Manual, Syllabus, Skills Exercises, and PowerPoints.

About the Book

Property: Cases, Problems, and Skills offers a modern, skills-based approach to Property Law, and includes a balance of classic and new cases, tightly-focused skills exercises (including advocacy, drafting, client interviewing/counseling, and negotiation), selected statutory excerpts, chapter review problems (with answers provided in the Appendix for student self-testing), and other pedagogical features (such as discussion problems raising novel and modern challenges, “A Place to Start” doctrinal overview boxes, and “Reading Guide” boxes). The online teacher’s manual will provide answers to all questions posed in the text and suggestions for conducting the skills exercises (generally, during a group exercise that takes all or part of a single class session). The two-color text is visually appealing, with judicious use of photographs, text boxes, and pedagogical diagrams. Although the text does not take a “hide the ball” approach, it prods students to engage with the law’s complexity, ambiguity, and nuance.

Hallmark features of Property: Cases, Problems, and Skills:

  • Tightly and clearly organized, both substantively and visually
  • Balance of classic and new cases
  • Shorter than most other Property casebooks
 For Professors:

  • Clearly-marked pedagogy, including “A Place to Start” boxes (presenting sufficient doctrinal background to free up precious class time for digging deeper into nuance and ambiguity) and “Reading Guide” boxes preceding cases (to guide the students in extracting contextual meaning from cases)
  • A skills exercise in each chapter provides in-depth opportunities for students to develop skills related to the substantive material covered in the chapter
  • A discussion problem in each chapter provides a rich factual context to facilitate further exploration of law and policy as applied to fresh, modern contexts (such as cell-phone apps purporting to “lease” public parking spaces, drones as potential nuisances, the sharing economy, cybersquatting, and the potential climate change real estate bubble)
  • Post-case notes include “Practice Pointers” (asking students to re-draft ambiguous language in documents that precipitated litigation, to explore alternatives to litigation, to advise clients as to litigation strategy, and the like), and notes on “The Place” (self-explanatory background about the geographic location of the disputed property, designed to remind students that legal disputes can be influenced by physical and human context) 
  • Relevant statutory and Restatement excerpts are collected and presented in one location within the chapter (rather than scattered in snippets throughout). Periodic statutory excerpts and exercises introduce students to the interplay of common law and statutory law
  • Teacher’s manual includes case briefs, teaching notes, detailed guides for discussion problems and skills exercises, and answers to all questions posed in the text
  • “Test Your Understanding” sections contain problems that the professor can work through during class (with answers in the teacher’s manual), or that can be left to the students for self-directed learning (each is preceded by a “Place to Start” box with sufficient doctrinal background to permit the students to work through the problems)
  • Offers four recurrent themes to highlight tensions inherent in property law: a bundle of sticks v. a web of interests (the tension between individual rights and the public interests); the importance of place (the tension between property as a market commodity and as a place capable of fostering personhood and community interactions); “just passing through” (the tension between the desires of the living and dead-hand control of property); and “a changing world” (the tension between traditional, stable property principles and changing social and physical landscapes)

For Students:

  • Visual aids include maps, diagrams, and photographs
  • Chapter-opener maps provide a geographic “table of contents” of the cases to be considered in that chapter, and serve as a reminder of the competing visions of real property as a fungible market commodity, and as a unique place essential to personhood and community interrelationships
  • Text clearly identifies the majority/minority/trend status of each rule, as relevant
  • Post-case notes are relatively concise, and avoid the treatise-style references that sometimes frustrate students without sufficient pedagogical benefit
  • Chapter Reviews include multiple choice and essay questions (with answers in the Appendix), and “Bringing it Home” statutory practice (guiding students in researching their state’s statutory coverage of selected topics likely to be regulated by statute)

Preface / Sample Chapters