Sunday, May 6, 2012

What happened to real property?

Look around the common law world, and you will see plenty of LLM programmes that include a specialisation in intellectual property.  Look around again, and you find it hard to find any that include a specialisation in real property.

Indeed, for LLM programmes based on graduate coursework (as is the case in England, Australia, New Zealand, etc; as opposed to the US-style LLM programmes that involve JD courses), there are few individual courses on real property at all at a graduate level. 

Where these do exist, they are often treated as part of "commercial" specialisations or are more"property, trusts and private law" type-courses.  Real property doesn't seem to deserve attention on its own.

We can then reflect that most lawyers spend more time dealing with legal issues relating real property than intellectual property (or is this a wrong assumption?)

When did intellectual property overtake real property in the academy?  Why?  Is it just student supply and demand?  And what can we do about it?  How do we restore real property to its proper status?

Thomas Gibbons

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This is a really interesting question. The explanation that comes to mind is that IP is sexy and hot. Real Property is probably more important, but isn't academically hot. Of course, those of us in the know see that Real Property can be super sexy. But people in other legal disciplines don't know what they are missing. The point holds for students as well as academics, which might impact supply and demand.

Posted by: Ben Barros | May 8, 2012 7:07:50 AM

Which raises how demand works - student demand is (perhaps) not driven by job opportunities, or practical needs, but by what is perceived as "hot" (or "cool", depending on which phrase is itself fashionable at the time).

Or is this more "supply-side" economics (sharp intake of breath)? Do law schools offer what they perceive students want (more "hot" IP, less "cold" real property). Because at the moment even if there was demand for a real property LLM, we might not know, because no one is offering such a course.

Thomas Gibbons

Posted by: Thomas Gibbons NZ | May 8, 2012 8:43:40 PM

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