The Path to the Bar: Step 1, MPRE

Last Spring, we published the first of a series of posts about the bar. That post talked about course selection with the bar in mind; you can read it here. Today we are looking at the MPRE, which is a first step on the path to passing the bar.

In most states, before you can sit for the bar, you must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). It’s two hours long, and contains sixty multiple choice questions testing knowledge of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which most states have adopted in some version. The MPRE does not test your personal ethics; it tests how well you know the Model Rules and how you apply them to factual hypotheticals.

Three jurisdictions do not require successful passage of the MPRE to practice there: Maryland, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico. In Connecticut and New Jersey, you can practice if you have taken a law school course in Professional Responsibility, which is a required course at BC Law. Every other state has a unique minimum score you must get to pass. For example, in Massachusetts and New York you need an 85. In California, you need an 86.

The MPRE is typically given three times each year in February, August, and November. Although you have to take Professional Responsibility to graduate from BC, you don’t need to have taken it to sit for the MPRE (I know at least two people who took the test before they took the class). This might not be the most advisable route, because you study the same rules in Professional Responsibility that are tested on the MPRE. The most common path is to take the MPRE either during the semester you take the class or directly after.

The three main bar prep companies, Barbri, Kaplan, and Themis, all have MPRE prep materials available for free. Once or twice a week, each company will set up a table somewhere on campus with books containing MPRE outlines and practice problems. You can also sign up online on their websites for free and go through the MPRE subject lectures and do practice problems online to study.

Lots more resources are available online:

NCBE: Preparing for the MPRE

ABA for Law Students: How to Prepare for the MPRE

FindLaw MPRE Resources (Including links to free review tests)

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