One of the important measures of a law school must be its offerings in property law, including the strength of its faculty, its curriculum, the opportunities it allows for the application of classroom knowledge in both the theoretical and practical realms and its library holdings.

The Law School has a tradition of fine scholars and teachers in real property law, beginning with Nathan Abbott and including Dean Marion Rice Kirkwood and Professor George Osborne. The current faculty includes five members who teach various aspects of the broad and growing field of property law. First-year property courses are taught by Professors Moffatt Hancock and Charles Meyers; Professor Hancock is deeply interested in conflicts of laws and has published widely in the field. Professors Charles Meyers and Howard Williams are the coauthors of the seven-volume standard treatise on oil ,and gas. (They alternate teaching that subject and real estate transactions every year.) Professor John Henry Merryman specializes in problems of land use controls and urban planning and, in addition, has published a number of works on the civil law, which he also teaches. Dale Collinson shares instruction in the field of future interests with Mr. Williams.

First-year law students are required to take Property I, a basic course offered in the spring term. Consideration is given to estates in land, divided interest, relationships between landlord and tenant and commercial transfers of land, including real estate contracts. Students study deeds, title insurance and the recording system. Finally, they consider private restrictions on the use of land, public regulations of land use and land use planning. Second-year and third-year students may choose from courses in oil and gas law, mortgages, trust and estates, real estate transactions, water law and land use controls.

Aside from the publication of student material in property law in the Stanford Law Review, recent and upcoming publications by the School’s students include an article by John Brooks, Jr. ’66 on “Legal Problems of the Geothermal Industry” in the Natural Resources Journal, Vol. 6, 1966, an article by Stephen Hill ’66 on rhoeatophyte control-to be published during the winter of 1967-68 by The Land and Water Resources Review (of the University of Wyoming)- and an article on developments in water-distributing organizations in the West, which is scheduled for publication during the winter of 1967-68 by Peter Rosenow ’67 in the Natural Resources Journal.

One of the School’s newer seminars is Community Development Laboratory, an interdisciplinary course in which law students participate with students from the departments of engineering, business and architecture. The participants work together to devise a general plan for the development of some nearby city or town. Often, the Laboratory seeks to develop action proposals that city officials can submit to the appropriate agencies for the relief of pressing community problems.

During the academic year 1965-66, law students joined architectural and engineering students in a six-month study of the town of Morgan Hill, a rural community 18 miles south of Palo Alto. Of particular interest to the law students were matters of zoning and the responsibilities and rights of citizens in community planning. Seven law students and four architecture students drew up the final plan, which they presented to the town of Morgan Hill in the spring of 1966.

In 1966-67, in Community Development Laboratory, seven law students and eleven advanced architectural students spent the fall semester drawing up a plan for the town of Alviso. Working under their advisors, Professors Charles Meyers and John Henry Merryman of the Law School and Thomas T. Williamson, Menlo Park architect and lecturer in architecture at Stanford, the group concentrated on programs calculated to make Alviso into a fresh-water port, as it was years ago. There has also been discussion of the merits and drawbacks attendant upon annexation of Alviso to San Jose. Lastly, the group investigated the advisability of applying for a Demonstration Cities Planning Grant. At the end of the fall semester, the students prepared a preliminary report. A new group, consisting of the original members from the schools of law and architecture and one student each from the schools of business and engineering spent the 1967 spring semester studying the town further and prospecting action plans. The group recommended to Alviso city officials and citizens that the town consider consolidation with San Jose and prepared a draft contract insuring that Alviso would receive the benefits promised. That contract has since been adopted by the San Jose City Council. In addition, a Model Cities application was prepared and filed and is pending in Washington, D.C.

In the spring of 1966, ten law students and ten business students took part in the Law School and Business School Seminar on Housing and Urban Development. They attempted to project the future of Hunter’s Point, a temporary wartime housing development at the southernmost tip of San Francisco. The community is populated almost exclusively by minority groups and was the scene of an outbreak of riots in September of 1966. For the seven weeks between the opening of the Law School’s spring semester and the Business School’s spring quarter, law students studied and wrote reports on the principal legal institutions in Hunter’s Point in the fields of housing and urban renewal. When the law students were joined by business students, the group was divided into six teams, each having from four to six members. Each team conducted interviews and took surveys among Hunter’s Point residents. A seventh team coordinated the work of the other six and compiled a consensus report. The report, noting the existence of a powerful barrier to easy solutions in a community as complex as Hunter’s Point, urged that immediate measures be taken to improve relations between the Point and the City in September 1967.

Those familiar with the School are aware of the general need for strengthening of its library resources. In the area of the law of real property, however, the School can report a substantial increase in its holdings, thanks to a $44,000 grant awarded in late 1966 from the Title Insurance Company and Trust Foundation. The grant has been designated for the acquisition of land law materials.

The quality of faculty and students, the roster of courses, a vigorous program of student participation in the legal life of the community outside the classroom and a good and growing library all speak well for the Law School’s property curriculum.