Faculty Scholarship Digest

Richard C. Daley



Rick Daley, The Ten Stages of a Real Estate Development Project, 27 The Practical Real Estate Lawyer 33 (2011).

Most books and articles on real estate development projects have, naturally, been written from the developer’s perspective, and hence focus on the early vision and feasibility stages that are uniquely the developer’s role. With vision in place and feasibility at least indicated, however, the lawyer’s role begins and becomes quite substantial. The lawyer who understands the business can make a great difference in this process. Rick has developed a class and published a casebook that takes students through a simulation of the lawyer’s role, step by careful step, that is not only invaluable to future practitioners in the field but more broadly instructs on the problem-solving nature of the profession. Adoption of Rick’s book to teach the class Rick conceived has spread to other law schools.


Rick Daley, Real Estate Development Law (West 2011).

This remarkable book draws on Ric's 25-years of experience representing real estate developers, both in private practice and as an in-house counsel (and his subsequent experience at Moritz teaching in the field), to help law teach students how to be business lawyers and what such a practice is like. Because of the many areas of law it touches on, and the centrality of the deal, “real estate development law is an ideal platform to provide students with a practical understanding of how the legal concepts that they mastered in law school can be used by them to help their clients achieve their business objectives.”

The book executes this vision by first covering the real estate development business (“if you want to succeed as a real estate development lawyer, you first need to understand the real estate development business”) and examining the lawyer’s role in each of ten stages of a real estate development project through use of a case study. The book also pays a great deal of attention to a variety of documents (the “heart and soul of real estate development law”) with a constant emphasis on the practical (though not the technical) aspects of representation. The names of the chapters provide some sense of the scope of the enterprise, from “Securing Government Approvals and Incentives” to “Designing and Constructing the Project” and from “Forming and Capitalizing the Project Entity” to “Selecting an Exit Strategy.” Yet these intimidating subjects are rendered accessible from the beginning by Rick's outstanding writing, which brings his direct and unpretentious style to the printed page.

Rick Daley, Teacher’s Manual to Real Estate Development Law (West 2011).

Most teacher’s manuals are special in their own way, as they frequently capture the casebook author(s)’s teaching style and individual pedagogic tricks of the trade. If so, then this book is extra special, because the text that it supports is designed to teach real estate development through a soup to nuts experiential simulation. Rick spent several years perfecting these materials to the acclaim and appreciation of Moritz students, and this manual goes a long way to making his simulation course accessible to other teachers in the field. In addition to the usual syllabus, schedule and comments, and questions and answers for each chapter, the Teacher’s Manual includes thirteen PowerPoint Presentations (e.g., Project Economics, Designing and Constructing the Project), eight written assignments (e.g., Letter of Intent, Construction Loan Agreement), and six in-class exercises (e.g., Mock Negotiation of Provisions of Land Contract, Mock City Council Meeting), as well as a set of supplemental course materials, all closely integrated with the text. The result is the foundation for an outstanding class that teaches not only the substance of real estate law, but also a great deal about the practice of law generally that is of great value even to students who will never work with real estate after graduation.