William and Mary Law School


Michelle on Propertyby Michelle Prendergast, 1L

CALI: Computer Assisted Learning Instruction

(Requires access code)

CALI offers online, interactive lessons providing in depth coverage of the most significant areas of property law. It is extremely helpful for learning the material and testing your mastery. There are tons of lessons, ranging from 30 minutes to over an hour to complete. It is definitely helpful in its step by step approach to taking you through the material. The lessons usually start off by giving a basic overview of the legal concepts and principles and asks questions throughout. There aren't a lot of long hypotheticals, but it still does a great job making sure you understand the basics before getting more entrenched. I personally think CALI lessons are better utilized to supplement class lecture and reinforce your understanding of the material. Once you start prepping for exams, CALI lessons may be time prohibitive unless you are having trouble with a specific area of the course.

Examples and Explanations: Property (4th ed.)

Barlow Burke and Joseph Snoe
KF560 .B87 2012
Examples & Explanations Series

Examples and Explanations is one of most well-known and popular choices for study guides, and for good reason. It’s laid out like a typical property textbook, but is much easier to understand. The E&E makes a great companion to whatever textbook you’re using for the course. When it comes to exam time, this has a lot to work through, but it’s a very useful tool for studying. It’s a very easy study aid to engage with and work though, and one of the best guides available. I’d recommend using the E&E to get a more comprehensive look at a particular topic. I wouldn’t cram with it, however.

Questions & Answers: Property (Rev. 1st ed.)

John Nagle
KF560 .Z9 N34 2004
Questions and Answers Series

The Property Q&A is an excellent supplement to use throughout the semester as you cover topics and for final exam prep to review your mastery of the course material. Q&A is divided into several different topics, i.e. land use restrictions, private property, etc. Each section has multiple choice questions and short-answer hypotheticals. There is also a 50 question multiple choice "practice exam" included, which will be helpful leading up to your exam. The aid provides concise explanations of not only why the correct answer is correct, but also why the other options were incorrect. The short answer hypotheticals are also adequately, but briefly explained. They aren't long enough or detailed enough to help with issue spotting, but are still helpful for basic review of course principles. The fact that the questions and answers are brief is beneficial because it doesn't require as much of a time commitment during exam crunch. The Q&A is not conducive to outlining and does not provide in depth explanations of legal principles. It is aptly titled, as it is simply questions and answers. If there is material in the course that you are struggling with and need fully explained, a different aid or treatise would be more appropriate.

Property  (8th ed.)

Steven Emanuel
KF561 .E47 2012
Emanuel Law Outlines

Emanuel's Law Outlines are an excellent way to prepare outlines and study for finals. It starts with a capsule summary that gives a broad overview of the material. This section is particularly helpful for a guide to structuring your outline. After the capsule summary, the material is reviewed more in depth, providing nice examples for each topic and sub-topic. There are also some nice flow charts included, which may be helpful, especially for studying future interests. There are exam tips in each section, noting commonly tested issues and pitfalls. There isn't anything earth shattering here, but it's worth a look. In addition, each section has a quiz to review yourself on the specific topic, and the text finishes with a multistate-style practice exam consisting of 25 multiple choice questions, as well as an essay exam. While this aid is really helpful for review and outlining, the material is covered somewhat generally. It isn't going to be helpful if you're looking to understand substantive material more fully. I would definitely recommend it once you get ready to outline.

The Law of Property

Christopher Serkin
KF570 .S47 2013
Concepts and Insights Series

This supplement is an excellent way to further develop your understanding of the class material. It is a bit of a heavier read than some of the other exam prep supplements, but I find this particularly useful. If there are certain concepts or principles you struggled to understand, this aid will help. While it does read somewhat like a textbook, and thus requires a little more effort, it is worth it in the end because it goes more in depth and relates back to the most significant cases discussed in class, setting out major rules and principles. You can use this study aid to supplement class lecture and garner a greater understanding of the material. It may also be useful in creating a skeletal outline, but the real value is in the supplement's in depth treatment of the law of property.

Principles of Property Law (6th ed.)

Herbert Hovenkamp and Sheldon Kurtz
KF570 .S532 2005
Concise Hornbook Series

I know most of us don't have the time to rehash an entire course at the end of the semester by wading through a hornbook, but I think this specific one is particularly useful. It doesn't spend a lot of time talking about background or justifications for legal principles, but is surprisingly concise. I was thinking it was going to read like a textbook, but it doesn't. It sets out certain topics and then simply enumerates the legal principles. It doesn't really get in-depth until it starts going through examples. If I have to spend more time with a supplement, this is the area where I'd like to do it. Not only are the explanations thorough, but there are problem sets with full discussion and analysis. This is a perfect place to practice, sharpen your understanding of the material, and prepare to approach questions on the exam.

Property (4th ed.)

Steven Emanuel
KF570 .Z9 E43 2012
CrunchTime Series

Emanuel's CrunchTime series never lets me down. It is an excellent source for outlining and reinforcing your basic understanding of the material. While it doesn't get into background, nuance, or fully explain the material, it does what it is designed to do. It helps you crunch just before your exam! This is one of the best resources out there for outlining. The aid starts out with extremely helpful flow charts. As we all know, certain areas of property law are reminiscent of the LSAT's logic games and require you to take multiple considerations into account at the same time. There are charts for determining who prevails under recording acts, creation of easements, and future interests. Outside of that, it's all about the outlining with this supplement. It is set up just like an outline, provides explanations in subsections, and even has exam tips and practice questions. This is definitely a go to for me during exam prep.

A Short & Happy Guide to Property (2nd ed.)

Paula Franzese
KF570 .Z9 F728 2012
Short and Happy Guide Series

I really enjoy this series of study aids. At 147 pages, this supplement packs a lot of punch. It covers all of the major areas of property law concisely. It basically overviews specific concepts or principles, defines them, sets out the elements, and then touches on sub-issues. This is a great way to review the highlights of your course, making sure you don't have any significant gaps in your exam prep. It is also structured extremely well in its efforts to be efficient, so it may also be helpful for outlining. I personally plan to read this in its entirety before the exam, simply for basic review. There is also a short exam preparation section, but it's pretty much focused on taking law school exams in general.

Real Property (Audio CDs)

Paula Franzese
KF570.Z9 F73 2005 AUDIO
Law School Legends Series

Have you ever wished you could just start the semester over and re-learn everything? Well, you sort of can. Listening to the Law School Legends CDs is an excellent way to cover the bulk of material you went over in your course. They are basically just lectures on CD. I was apprehensive about trying them out because I figured they would just be insanely boring. However, the narrator, Paula Franzese, is surprisingly entertaining. She finds a way to insert humor and uses hypotheticals from popular cultural, which I always find helps give me a point of reference for remembering something specific later. She does speak pretty slowly and is very repetitive. However, repetitive might be just what you need, especially if you are like me and zone out at times. Also, the fact that she speaks slowly is also helpful if you plan on outlining as you listen to the CDs. This method may be more time consuming, but from an efficiency standpoint, you can re-learn the material and outline at the same time. Two birds, one stone. All in all, not a bad resource when you start to prepare for exams. It may be time-prohibitive once you really get down to the wire, but the Real Property CDs are as good a place to start as any.

Future Interests & Perpetuities (5th ed.)

KF605 .F77 2009
Gilbert Law Summaries

For those of you who are covering future interests in your property course, Gilbert's Law Summaries, Future Interests & Perpetuities is extremely helpful. If you, like others, find future interests to be one of the most frustrating aspects of property law, then you should definitely utilize this supplement for clarification. It thoroughly explains future interests, taking a step by step approach to the different types of interests and does an excellent job explaining the always confusing rule against perpetuities. There are charts throughout the aid that are incredibly helpful in keeping the material straight in your mind. The flowchart for thinking through the rule against perpetuities is especially helpful. The greatest benefit I found in the supplement is the section that provides 100 review questions. For me, learning future interests and perpetuities took a ton of practice thinking through grants. I would definitely recommend this supplement.