Fall 2017

Property (Section 2)




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 to to 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. When we talked about adverse possession, we looked at a sample exam question that involved that issue. 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. (There is an issue in it about public control of land use, but that issue is mostly a ‘red herring’. Anybody who is taking a course in Legislation and Regulation should be able to handle it.) Next to the question there is also a link to a memo about the question. You should not look at the memo if you want to test yourself. 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. If you get me an answer before Thanksgiving (email), I promise you that I will return it to you with a grade, maybe some comments, by the time that you get back from Thanksgiving.

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)

During reading and exam period, I will take email questions about the course. Send me a question (email) about something that is bothering you. I'll try to answer it in a short period of time. I will then post the question and the answer anonymously here, under the broad topics listed below, with the number of questions in parentheses. You might want to check the existing questions. They are all quite good and may help your thinking. What’s there now is mostly from when I gave the course last year. We now have a large number of questions from the last two times that I gave the course and a number from this year as well. In particular, ‘Future Interests (basics)’, contains what is virtually a tutorial on the classes on that topic.


Sample Exam Question Final Sample Exam Memo


Prior Exams (25)

Possession (19)

Caves (2)

Conveyancing (15)

Future Interests (basics) (49)

Rule Against Perpetuities (22)

Concurrent & Marital Estates (19)

1969 Objectives (5)

Landlord and Tenant (6)

Easements and Covenants (33)

Public Control (8)

Intellectual Property (1)

The 1969 objective questions answered by a student in this last semesters class (2017) according to ‘modern’ law (Word Doc; PDF).
If you want to try your hand at the questions before looking at the answers, click here.

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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: 12/11/17
2000–2017 Charles Donahue, Jr.