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How to Pass the MPRE: Five Top Tips 


( 27, 2020)--Passing the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Exam – the ‘MPRE’ – is a mandatory step for law students in most states before being admitted to the Bar. So how can you ensure you get through it? Read on to find our top five tips for success! 

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1. Take the Subject Seriously  

Professional ethics might seem somewhat airy compared to the heavyweight black letter law subjects that you’ll study. But don’t be fooled: professional ethics is crucial.  

After all, nobody at law school imagines that they’ll ever be subject to disciplinary measures or even barred from practicing during their career. Yet, each year, exactly that happens to hundreds of lawyers across the country. Why? While there may be a few bad apples out there who deliberately set out to take advantage of their clients, in many cases these are lawyers who start out with good intentions, but take their eye off their professional responsibilities and wind up cutting corners or forgetting their duties – sometimes getting trapped in a hideous cycle where they feel the need to cover up one breach of practice codes with another.

As you progress in your career, you’ll likely specialize in one area of law, and many of the subjects you worked so hard to pass will become unfamiliar to you – for example, many family lawyers know little of criminal law, and vice versa. But professional ethics is relevant to all lawyers at all stages. So listen closely in Professional Responsibility class and brush up for the MPRE! 

2. Get to Know the Subjects Tested 

The MPRE relates to subjects like confidentiality, conflicts of interest and assessing Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 16.7.20vulnerable clients’ competence to instruct a lawyer (such as children). It’s based on the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct (which governs lawyers’ behavior) and its Model Code of Judicial Conduct (which governs judges). You can find a full outline of the subjects covered in the test on the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ website

3. Imagine You Are Your Client 

It’s true that many of the scenarios in professional ethics have solutions which are fairly common sense. Often all you need is the handy maxim, ‘If something feels wrong, it probably is’! But law is all about gray areas, and borderline situations always arise. In that case, when it comes to dealings with clients, often the best thing to do is put yourselves in your clients’ shoes and simply think ‘How would I want my lawyer to act?’ 

Of course, that advice has to be balanced against the fact that you have other duties too, such as to the court and the public. It’s not always your clients’ interests that win out, but it’s a good place to start. 

4. Practice!   

As with anything, there is no substitute for practice! It’s a good idea to try a free MPRE course, particularly if it includes real questions from previous years.  

The MPRE can be sat in March, August or November. Registration opens in December for the year to come. August is often a popular option, because students are not juggling other coursework requirements during the summer. 

For obvious reasons, the MPRE shouldn’t be attempted until you have taken the Professional Responsibility course at law school; but it’s a good idea not to wait too long after this course has finished so that the material doesn’t fade from your memory. That means that, although everyone’s circumstances are different, the August in between the second and third years of law school is a great choice for many students. 


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