Fall 2015

Property (Section 7)




Daily class assignments are found in the syllabus. All of the class outlines for last year may be found by the day on which they were posted under lectures. After we have the class I will substitute the class outline that we used this year.

Over the course of the semester you will have the opportunity to submit written answers toto a set of problems about disability provisions in adverse possession statutes and/or a sample exam question. You should be ready to take a crack at one of the issues in the sample exam question when we reach the end of the section on adverse possession. It is posted below. I have now posted the entire sample exam. It raises some issues that we will not cover until November, but there’s plenty to think (and write) about now. The issues about which you should wait are those that concern the document that Andrew and his neighbors signed in 1980 and those raised by the statute about burial grounds. You should note that I have made some changes, particularly in the dates, that make the problem a bit different from the one that I distributed earlier in the semester when we were focusing exclusively on adverse possession.

Most of you took the sample exam, and I was able to send all of them back to you with comments. I can’t promise the same thing any more, but if you want to take a crack at it and send it to me (email), I’ll try to put a grade on it and send it back to you. I also have posted below a memo that describes what I was looking for the in the sample exam. You can use it for self-testing.

The assignment about disability provisions should be relatively easy for people who are taking a course in Legislation and Regulation. It has ten questions, which involve comparing two statutes about disabilities in conjunction with adverse possession. It requires a paragraph for each question (perhaps two on the first one). The ‘answers’ to the questions, in terms of the bottom line, are given in the question. The trick is to justify the answer (or to come up with another one).

The exam question is more complicated. You’re not ready to do all of it right now, but what you are ready to do right now are the parts that deal with Andrew Stark’s will and adverse possession. The question is does Ebenezer have any argument that he is the owner Stark Farm now that Clarissa is dead, that her intestate heir is not Ebenezer but David, but that Ebenezer has been living there for some time, and still is living there. If it turns out that there is more than one way to make this argument (and there is), the question then becomes what is the best argument that we, Ebenezer’s lawyers, can make.

I’m a great believer in starting to write early. Students have a tendency not to do so until the end of the semester. I would urge you to take a crack at one or the other of the problems now. Send me your draft (rspang@law.harvard.edu). I’ll take a look at it, try to make some comments, and post the result anonymously on the website.

My deal on the sample exam question is this: If you get me a draft answer to the question by 4:30 on Wednesday, 25 November (send it to me by email), I promise to get it back to you with a grade on it within a week. (I usually am able to provide brief comments as well, but that’s not a promise.) If you get it to me after 25 November, I’ll do my best, but I can’t promise.

Sample Essay Question (Practice Exam) (Word doc)

Sample Objective Questions and Answers (Word doc)


Sample Exam Question Final


Prior Exams (7)

Possession (5)

Future Interests (basics) (2)

Rule Against Perpetuities (11)

Concurrent & Marital Estates (8)

Easements and Covenants (10)

Public Control (1)



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Please send comments to Rosemary Spang
URL: http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/cdonahue/courses/prop/assign/index_assign.html
last modified: 11/01/15
2000–2015 Charles Donahue, Jr.