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Bar Exam Information

Character and Fitness Process
Prior to receiving a license to practice law, all prospective attorneys must go through a thorough screening process designed to ensure they possess the level of integrity and trustworthiness necessary to fulfill their duties as members of the bar.  Each state has its own process for evaluating an applicant’s character, and the disclosures an applicant must make.  Students with any questions or concerns about this process should contact the Dean of Students or the Associate Director of Bar Support.  

The Bar Exam
The Bar Exam is a test administered twice a year in every state (July and February) which a prospective attorney must successfully complete to become eligible to practice law.   The length and composition of the exam varies from state to state, but nearly every state uses a combination of questions created by state bar examiners and the National Conference of Bar Examiners (see below for more information about the NCBE exam components).   The following links provide information on the bar exams our students most frequently take: Rhode IslandMassachusetts; Connecticut; New York*; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Maryland.

*New York recently enacted a pro bono requirement.  Students should be aware that this requirement is different from RWU Law’s pro bono requirement.   Thus, pro bono hours that count toward fulfillment of RWU Law’s pro bono graduation requirement do not necessarily count for compliance with the New York rule.   The new rule, helpful FAQs, and the Affidavit of Compliance can be found here.  RWU Law is not responsible for graduates’ compliance with the New York rule.  We recommend that you contact the NY Bar directly with specific questions.

The MBE
The Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) is developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is administered by participating jurisdictions on the last Wednesday in February and the last Wednesday in July of each year. The purpose of the MBE is to assess the extent to which an examinee can apply fundamental legal principles and legal reasoning to analyze given fact patterns. The MBE contains 200 multiple-choice questions, 190 of which are scored.  The 10 unscored questions are evaluated for future use and are indistinguishable from scored questions.  The 190 scored questions are distributed as follows: Constitutional Law (31), Contracts (33), Criminal Law and Procedure (31), Evidence (31), Real Property (31), and Torts (33). More information can be found here

The MEE
The Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) is developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is administered by participating jurisdictions on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year.  The MEE is composed of six 30-minute questions which may cover any of the following areas of law: Business Associations (Agency and Partnership; Corporations and Limited Liability Companies), Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Family Law, Federal Civil Procedure, Real Property, Torts, Trusts and Estates (Decedents' Estates; Trusts and Future Interests), and Uniform Commercial Code (Negotiable Instruments and Bank Deposits and Collections; Secured Transactions). Some questions may include issues in more than one area of law. The particular areas covered vary from exam to exam. More information can be found here

The MPT
The Multistate Performance Test (MPT) is developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is administered by participating jurisdictions on the Tuesday before the last Wednesday in February and July of each year. The MPT is a 90-minute designed to test an examinee’s ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation.  Each test evaluates an examinee’s ability to complete a task that a beginning lawyer should be able to accomplish.  The MPT is not a test of substantive knowledge. Rather, it is designed to examine six fundamental skills lawyers are expected to demonstrate regardless of the area of law in which the skills arise: (1) sort detailed factual materials and separate relevant from irrelevant facts; (2) analyze statutory, case, and administrative materials for applicable principles of law; (3) apply the relevant law to the relevant facts in a manner likely to resolve a client’s problem; (4) identify and resolve ethical dilemmas, when present; (5) communicate effectively in writing; and (6) complete a lawyering task within time constraints. Descriptions of the skills tested can be found in the 2014 MPT Information Booklet.   These skills are tested by requiring examinees to perform one or more of a variety of lawyering tasks. For example, examinees might be instructed to complete any of the following: a memorandum to a supervising attorney, a letter to a client, a persuasive memorandum or brief, a statement of facts, a contract provision, a will, a counseling plan, a proposal for settlement or agreement, a discovery plan, a witness examination plan, or a closing argument.  More information can be found here

The MPRE
The MPRE is a 60-question, two-hour-and-five-minute, multiple-choice examination developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and administered three times per year at established test centers across the country.  The purpose of the MPRE is to measure the examinee's knowledge and understanding of established standards related to a lawyer's professional conduct.  The majority of states require bar applicants to receive a passing score on the MPRE as a condition to bar admission.  Each of these states has specific rules regarding when an applicant must take the MPRE and what score the applicant must receive to “pass”.  This information can typically be found on the state bar examiners’ websites. Most students choose to sit for the exam while taking Professional Responsibility, or soon thereafter.  However, studying from these class notes alone will not be sufficient to prepare you for the exam.  Most commercial bar preparation companies (BARBRI, Kaplan, Pieper, etc.) offer a free MPRE review class and study materials.  Additional resources can also be found on the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ website.  More information about the exam, administration dates, and registration can be found here