This essay discusses the use of a role-playing exercise in a large (70-100 students), first-year Property II course. The central focus of the course is land use. The author uses a Board of Adjustment hypothetical, with students in the roles of lawyer, client, expert, and member of the Board of Adjustment. I first used the problem to encourage fact analysis. Even second-semester first-year students too easily ignore facts and focus on the "rules of law" seemingly to the exclusion of all else. After using this method, however, it became apparent that many more learning opportunities present themselves. In addition to fact analysis, the exercise presents students with an opportunity to apply and interpret an enabling statute and ordinance, become involved in the art of persuasion in an advocacy setting, apply facts to a substantive area of the law, see how the law interrelates with another discipline, namely planning, and begin to learn what it means to become a lawyer.
Tomain, Joseph P., "Lawyering in First-Year Property" (1983). Faculty Articles and Other Publications. 204.