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Curriculum

The Mattone Institute coordinates all of St. John’s Law’s real estate course offerings, with a focus on creating one of the most comprehensive curriculum of real estate law courses offered by any U.S. law school. Future course offerings are anticipated to include simulation courses and specialty seminars on advanced topics.

Current course offerings include the following:

CONDOMINIUMS, COOPERATIVES & HOMEOWNER
ASSOCIATIONS (PROPERTY - 1000)
2 credits
This course examines modern forms of shelter from the viewpoint of the community, the developer, the institutional lender and the consumer. The relative advantages of each form of development, the legal problems involved in selling and re-selling individual units, and the controls that may be exercised over unit owners are examined. The economic, social and legal aspects of conversion of rental properties to cooperative or condominium status are discussed. Rights and remedies in the event of defaults by unit owners/developers are also considered. Students will work with applicable statutes, governmental regulations and documents of existing projects. Grades are based upon a research paper.

CONSTRUCTION LAW
(BUSINESS AND FINANCE LAW - 4050)
2 credits
This course is designed to provide students with a working knowledge of the field of construction law, beginning with the parties to a typical construction project, the types of contracts used, the competitive bidding process, labor law issues, and the resolution of disputes, with a concentration on issues related to construction in New York State and City. The students will review a standard construction contract published by the American Institute of Architects, participate in a mock mediation of a construction dispute, review and complete NYC Vendex Questionnaires required of all NYC municipal contractors, and review and complete a notice of mechanic's lien. The objective will be to provide the students with the ability to advise clients working in the construction field in reviewing contracts, participating in the competitive bidding process, handling disputes and labor issues, and filing claims for public and private works projects. Grades will be based on a final examination and class participation.  Prerequisite: CONTRACTS I AND CONTRACTS II

DRAFTING: REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
(PROPERTY - 1050)
3 credits
Open to Seniors Only. This course is a transaction-oriented course dealing with modern real estate problems. The major work product is a series of drafted agreements. Before undertaking actual drafting, students analyze a hypothetical transaction on an integrated functional basis. This involves primarily the interplay of Property, Partnership, Corporation and Tax rules, and how to use them to achieve maximum objectives. Pertinent background reading is assigned in connection with each transaction. Preliminary analysis leads to particular structuring or restructuring of a transaction and provides the basis for the drafting of the appropriate instruments. Grades are based upon class assignments and a final examination.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
(ENVIRONMENTAL LAW - 1000)
3 credits
This course covers the legal responses to current environmental problems, including climate change, air and water quality, toxic substances, solid and hazardous waste and the preservation of parks, wetlands and the habitats of endangered species. The course starts with the common law of nuisance and the public trust doctrine, foundations of the current law.  It then traces the development of federal and state environmental statutes and the administrative law that governs agencies implementing these statutes’ provisions.  Grades are based upon a final examination.

INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
(ENVIRONMENTAL LAW - 1030)
3 credits
This course surveys the leading legal instruments and approaches to dealing with regional and global environmental problems. It will address transboundary air and water pollution, mass catastrophes, protection and allocation of freshwater supplies, stewardship of ocean resources such as fisheries, protection of the atmosphere (including the ozone layer and climate change), transport and trade in hazardous chemicals and waste, and biodiversity. The course will explore the environmental side of new approaches to economic regulation, including the world trade regime, and emerging ideas about sustainable development. Grades are based upon a final examination.

LAND USE PLANNING
(PROPERTY - 1010)
3 credits
This course provides an analysis of the legal and administrative aspects of land use control, and of the problems and techniques of urban planning. The course includes a study of building codes, zoning, subdivision, public acquisition of land tax controls and urban redevelopment. Grades are based upon a research paper of law review quality on a topic approved by the faculty member conducting the seminar.

REAL ESTATE FINANCE
(PROPERTY - 1070)
2 credits
This course is designed to provide students with a working knowledge of the federal and state consumer protection laws affecting the origination and foreclosure of real estate mortgages, the regulation of the mortgage industry, and the foreclosure process, including title insurance, the priority of liens, the impact of bankruptcy filings and post-foreclosure proceedings such as evictions, surplus money proceedings and deficiency judgments. Grades are based upon a final examination.

REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
(PROPERTY - 1090)
3 credits
Open only to students who have not taken the two-semester sequence of Property I and II and/or Real Estate Transactions-Advanced. This course examines the fundamental legal and business building blocks of real estate transactions. Topics include the role of the lawyer, broker participation and responsibilities, the contract of sale and remedies for breach, deeds and closing, the title system, mortgages and foreclosure. This course provides a foundation for other advanced real estate courses. Grades are based upon a final examination.  Pre-requisite: PROPERTY