Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Call For Proposals - Emory Transactional Law Conference

UPDATE 1/15/10 -- There was a technical problem with the submission form that has now been fixed.  If you have already submitted a proposal, please resubmit it.  The new proposal form can be found here:  .  The link below has also been fixed.



Emory University School of Law’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice is delighted to announce its second biennial conference on the teaching of transactional law and skills, Transactional Education:  What’s Next?  The conference will be held at Emory Law on Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5, 2010. 




We are accepting proposals immediately, but in no event later than 5:00 p.m., February 1, 2010. We welcome proposals on any subject of interest to current or potential teachers of transactional law and skills. Among the topics we hope to receive proposals on are the following: 




Each panel will be 90 minutes long.


1. Contract drafting – the “building block” for all transactional lawyering

·            The five basic contract concepts as the foundation of contract drafting (representations and warranties, covenants, conditions, discretionary authority, and declarations)

·            How to draft the different parts of a contract (introductory provisions, definitions, etc.)

·            Writing clearly and without ambiguity

·            Advanced contract drafting issues (syllabus, teaching methods, etc.)

2. Teaching transactions in an international setting

·            The basic framework of contract law in civil law jurisdictions

·            The drafting of contracts in civil law jurisdictions

·            Business transactions in accordance with Islamic law

·            Simulations as a mode of teaching

·            Integration of international issues into transactional skills courses

·            Cultural issues affecting the negotiation of international transactions

·            The use of clinics to teach international transactions

·            How non-U.S. law schools are teaching transactional skills

·            Teaching foreign LLM students about drafting in a common law country

3. Teaching contract drafting for the first time from a legal writing professor’s perspective

4. Teaching transactional skills in a doctrinal course

·            Business Associations

·            Contracts

·            Corporate Finance

·            Employment Law

·            Intellectual Property

·            Property

·            Other courses

5.  Teaching accounting from a transactional perspective


6.  Teaching ethics from a transactional perspective


7. Teaching transactional skills other than contract drafting

·            Problem solving

·            Negotiation

·            Interviewing and counseling

·            Written communication:  memoranda to superiors and clients

·            Judgment

·            How, if at all, does pedagogy differ from that used when teaching these skills in the litigation context

8. Teaching transaction-related tasks

·            Project management

·            Due diligence

·            Third party opinion letters

·            Drafting of resolutions


9. Transactional training techniques (including technology such as clickers and Google Docs)


10. Curricular Issues

  • Field placements/externship programs
  • The role of adjuncts in a transactional skills curriculum
  • Interdisciplinary courses, including JD/MBA courses

11. Transactional Centers and Certificates

·            Why have a center

·            How to start and then run a center

·            What is a transactional certificate program




We will also reserve several panels as “Exercise Showcases.”  Each will be 90 minutes long. At each of these panels, professors will each take approximately 15 minutes to demonstrate an exercise he or she uses to teach a transactional skill or task or a principle of doctrinal law.  In addition, we hope that each of the other panels, when appropriate, will take the opportunity to showcase an exercise. 




At this conference, we will introduce Lunch Roundtables. They will be 40 minutes long.  These will be informal group discussions of topical issues. If you would like to lead a Roundtable, please submit a proposal as you would if you were proposing a panel. 




As transactional education has expanded, the need for high quality training materials has continued to grow. Unfortunately, we do not yet have enough textbooks that adequately address our needs. As a result, professors labor to create materials for their courses. Currently, gaining access to these terrific teaching materials is generally by word of mouth or a request on a listserv. One goal of this conference, therefore, is to create a databank of teaching materials available to professors and practitioners. The databank will be known as The Emory Exchange for Transactional Training Materials. It will store (for eligible users) syllabi, PowerPoint slides, exercises and other transactional teaching materials that professors and practitioners submit. Our hope is that the Exchange will facilitate the growth of transactional education by being a source of high quality teaching materials.  If you would like to submit materials separately from submitting a proposal for the conference, please click here.




Information on registration and hotel reservations will be distributed in early 2010. To keep the costs for registrants as modest as possible, speakers must pay the registration fee and for their own travel expenses.




To submit a proposal, please click here.  Once again, the deadline is 5:00 p.m., February 1, 2010.

Emory is delighted to once again host this Conference, and we look forward to seeing you in Atlanta June 4th and June 5th.




The Steering Committee


Tina L. Stark, Chair, Emory University School of Law

Danny Bogart, Chapman University School of Law

Deborah Burand, University of Michigan Law School

Joan MacLeod Heminway, The University of Tennessee College of Law

Jeffrey Lipshaw, Suffolk University Law School

Jane Scott, St. John’s University School of Law

[Posted by Ben Barros]

January 13, 2010 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mitchell, Malpezzi, and Green on Forced Sales

Thomas W. Mitchell (Wisconsin), Stephen Malpezzi (Wisconsin) and Richard Green (USC) have posted Forced Sale Risk: Class, Race, and The 'Double Discount' on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

What impact does a forced sale have upon a property owner's wealth? And do certain characteristics of a property owner such as whether they are rich or poor or whether they are black or white, tend to affect the price yielded at a forced sale? This Article addresses arguments made by some courts and legal scholars who have claimed that certain types of forced sales result in wealth maximizing, economic efficiencies. The Article addresses such economic arguments by returning to first principles and reviewing the distinction between sales conducted under fair market value conditions and sales conducted under forced sale conditions. This analysis makes it clear that forced sales of real or personal property are conducted under conditions that are rarely likely to yield market value prices. In addition, the Article addresses the fact that judges and legal scholars have utilized a flawed economic analysis of forced sales in cases that often involve property that is owned by low- to middle-class property owners in part because those who are wealthier own their property under more stable ownership structures or utilize private ordering to avoid the chance that a court might order a forced sale under the default rules of certain common ownership structures. The Article also raises the possibility for the first time that the race or ethnicity of a property owner may affect the sales price for property sold at a forced sale, resulting in a "double discount," i.e. a discount from market value for the forced sale and a further discount attributable to the race of the property owner. If minorities are more susceptible to forced sales of their property than white property owners or if there does exist a phenomenon in which minorities suffer a double discount upon the sale of their property at a forced sale, then forced sales of minority-owned property could be contributing to persistent and yawning racial wealth gaps.

Ben Barros

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January 13, 2010 in Real Estate Transactions, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Property Rights and Avatar

I haven't seen it yet, but apparently Avatar has some strong property/market economy themes.  David Henderson has an interesting post on the subject.

Ben Barros

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January 12, 2010 in Property Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Property Bloggers Wanted

I'm seeking one or more people to join me as permanent bloggers here at PropertyProf.  If you're interested, please e-mail me at  No need to make a permanent commitment right away.

Ben Barros

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January 11, 2010 in About This Blog, Help Wanted | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gonzaga Seeks Property Visitor

Gonzaga University School of Law seeks applicants for one or more full-time visiting positions in Fall 2010 and Spring 2011.  The visitorships could be for one or two semesters.  Subject areas include Intellectual Property, Professional Responsibility, Property, and Constitutional Law.  Applicants should have experience in teaching one or more of those subjects and a demonstrated commitment to teaching excellence.  The law school is strongly committed to diversifying its faculty and furthering Gonzaga’s mission.  The Law School intends to fill these positions in January and February, 2010.  To apply, send a cover letter and resume to Professor Gerry Hess, Chair, Faculty Recruitment Committee, Gonzaga University School of Law, P.O. Box 3528, Spokane, Washington 99220-3528, or contact Professor Hess by e-mail at

January 11, 2010 in Help Wanted | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Adams on Homeownership

Kristen Adams (Stetson) has posted Homeownership: American Dream or Illusion of Empowerment? on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

In this Article, I endeavor to show that because Americans value homeownership so much — in fact, more than we should — we have placed ourselves in an untenable position as a country and now find ourselves in the midst of a well-documented housing crisis. In addition, we have used the primacy of homeownership as an excuse not to fulfill our country’s commitment to provide housing assistance to those persons who need it most. We have done this in part by undervaluing quality, affordable rental property (and quality renters) just as we have overvalued homeownership (and homeowners). Some have used the word “myth” in talking about the American view of homeownership; however, the word I prefer is “illusion,” which I intend to be less pejorative while still acknowledging that homeownership does not always deliver the benefits it promises, particularly for lower income homeowners. This Article is not particularly concerned with the question of who is to blame for the current housing crisis, because I believe fault in this context is too complicated to be laid at the feet of just one party or another. Part II of this Article examines the median American household, mortgage, and house, concluding that many Americans cannot afford the homes they have purchased. Next, Part III addresses the question of why our country overvalues homeownership to such an extent that it now finds itself in this position. In doing so, Part III examines the many benefits that homeownership supposedly provides to both individuals and society. Part IV contrasts society’s customary treatment of homeownership as a virtue with its stigmatization of renters, concluding that the latter is unfounded. Part IV also explores how the very interests that have promoted homeownership have also benefited most from its growth. Part V considers several factors that contributed to the real estate boom that culminated in the mid-2000s, including homeowners’ treatment of mortgage debt as wealth, financing options such as no-down-payment and interest-only loans, increased utilization of home equity loans, and certain features of subprime lending. Part VI concludes by suggesting that universal homeownership does not provide the benefits Americans have come to expect from it and proposing four steps policymakers should follow in creating healthier, more sustainable housing policy.

Ben Barros

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January 11, 2010 in Property Theory, Real Estate Transactions, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Smith on Institutions and Indirectness in Intellectual Property

Henry E. Smith (Harvard) has posted Institutions and Indirectness in Intellectual Property on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

Intellectual property rights are controversial because on first glance they present a disjunction between the purposes they serve and the mechanisms they employ. New Institutional Economics (NIE) suggests that for reasons of transaction costs, broadly conceived, institutions are imperfect and their imperfections may nonetheless be cost-effective. This Article draws on the NIE to present a theory of the similarities and differences between IP and regular property, and sharpens some empirical questions relating to the advisability of property-style IP protection. IP is characterized by two types of indirectness that need not both be present in regular property. In first-order indirectness, the resource to be measured is difficult to meter, leading to the use of rough proxies. Variation in outcomes along dimensions of the resource – for example, animals supported by grazing land – show high variance, i.e. risk. Second-order indirectness involves uncertainty or ambiguity about the return from a resource, in terms of how to employ it or even to carve it up – for example choosing crops or deciding between agricultural and residential subdivision. The greater the uncertainty, the more attractive, in terms of maximizing option value, it is to delegate decisions over these dimensions of resource activity to those close to the resource. Both types of indirectness point to advantages that in theory a modular structure of rights can provide: difficulty in measuring dimensions (first-order) or identifying the relevant dimensions (second-order) suggests that a given activity be placed within a module and control over local remodularization be given to private actors. Because information is nonrival, the benefits of modularity must be traded off against the benefits of exclusion costs. In both patent licensing and remedies, an NIE approach to property that does not emphasize information costs has difficulty explaining patent rights as opposed to other internalization and coordination devices. The Article applies the information-cost theory to IP licensing and patent remedies. Licensing implements a governance strategy that enriches the interface between IP rights in limited ways. Injunctive remedies dovetail with a modular structure of exclusion rights, and the traditional equitable approach to injunctions provides for targeted safety valves for problems relating to lack of notice and reasonable reliance by potential infringers.

Ben Barros

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January 11, 2010 in Intellectual Property, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Peck and Steadham on Land Description Errors

John C. Peck and Christopher L. Steadham (Univ. of Kansas) have posted Land Description Errors: Recognition, Avoidance, and Consequences on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

Legal descriptions of land are used in many legal documents, including contracts, deeds, mortgages, and others. The article first describes several commonly used description methods, including the metes and bounds, U.S. Government Survey, plat reference, and surveyor's or angular description. A suggested method of drawing descriptions is provided. Many types of errors can occur in legal descriptions. Errors can be made because the description is too informal, is ambiguous, or contains mistakes in numbers. Sometimes errors are made when the description is valid in and of itself, but is not the one intended by the parties. Courts have devised canons and aids in construction of land descriptions that contain patent or latent errors. When errors are made, several parties may be adversely affected, including buyers and sellers, mortgagors and mortgagees, lawyers, and land surveyors. For lawyers, errors can implicate both legal and professional ethics violations. Surveyors may be liable in malpractice. The article concludes with some suggestions on methods to avoid making errors in land descriptions.

Ben Barros

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January 11, 2010 in Real Estate Transactions, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nolon on Climate Change and Land Use

John R. Nolon (Pace) has posted The Land Use Stabilization Wedge Strategy: Shifting Ground to Mitigate Climate Change on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This article describes how local governments, through the clever application of existing land use techniques, can mitigate climate change. This strategic path follows one developed by Princeton professor Robert Socolow, who identified and described fifteen categories for organizing society’s climate change mitigation efforts. Five of Socolow’s strategic categories fall within the reach of local land use authority: reduced use of vehicles, energy efficient buildings, vegetative carbon sequestration, wind power, and solar power. Through the aggregation of these local land use techniques, significant energy savings and carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction can be achieved. After making some background points, this article describes how local governments are attacking the root causes of climate change and how state and federal policies can embrace local power, energy, and people to launch a coordinated attack on perhaps the greatest challenge our nation faces.

Ben Barros

[Comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting]

January 11, 2010 in Land Use, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)