Thursday, April 20, 2023
MPT advice, part 1 in a series
As 3Ls transition from law students to bar prepares, I am mindful of the fact that commercial bar prep companies, while very good at teaching to the MBE and MEE, often leave a need for supplemental resources for the MPT. With that in mind, the next few Thursday posts (beginning May 4, 2023), will be dedicated to strategies and tips for the MPT.
Reading the overview below might generate lots of questions: "what do you mean by 'MPT to-do list'?" "'two-sentence introduction'--huh?" "When you say 'other side' why don't you just say counterargument?" "What 'C-RAC Handout'???" If you are asking those questions, then these upcoming Thursday posts are for you! The overview is below, and the next post on MPT for the bar exam will be on May 4, 2023.
Overview of an approach to the MPT
Your approach to an MPT should look something like this:
- Briefly (spend less than 8 seconds) peruse the table of contents and get a general idea of what you have been provided
- Read the task memo carefully:
- Make your to-do list
- Start filling in in your answer (ex., letterhead, memo heading, section headings, substantive headings, two-sentence introduction, etc. the "mindless" things we explained in class) as much as you can from the task memo
- Start formulating questions. For instance, if you are assigned to draft a memo analyzing whether Greene is a partner or associate of our client, you should be thinking, "When or under what circumstances, are two attorneys partners?" "When, or under what circumstances are two attorneys a partner and associate?" "What factors impact or determine that relationship?" Don't read the MPT packet like it's People magazine and you are waiting for something to present itself to you as important. YOU have to be thinking as you are reading. If it helps you stay focused, you can write those questions down on your scratch paper. These are what BarBri calls your “research questions” I believe.
- Now, turn to the Library. Some bar prep companies say to read newest cases, older cases, then statutes. That is fine, but a little fussy for my personal taste: I recommend reading the Library in order, but I just don't have strong feelings on this. Do what works for you.
- Fill in the rules in your answer under each substantive heading (when I say "rules" I mean the rule statement in four parts). You are looking to find out the answer to the questions you thought of. When you find the answer to those questions, you've likely found something important that needs to go into your rule section. Do your rules in the order we taught in class. Review the C-RAC Handout for a refresher.
- As you fill in your rules in your answer, you should start to formulate questions about the facts. For instance, you may have found something in the rules that indicates that the way an attorney is paid—contingency vs. salary or hourly—may impact whether the person was a partner, an associate, or neither. So, when you flip to the File, you will start reading with that in mind: “I need to find something about how this attorney was paid.” Some call these your “fact questions.”
- After finishing the library, go to the file. Read thoroughly. You should not "skim" anything in the MPT packet, but you should read actively. That means you can read briskly, slowing down when you encounter information or factors that are operative facts under the law you have already filled into your answer. You will read some stuff slower and some stuff faster. But you must read everything.
- Start filling in your analysis. Apply the rule from the authority case to your facts. Look for facts that are similar to the facts in your "authority case" (as explained in the C-RAC handout).
- Write your application paragraph to essentially say "our facts are like the facts in the authority case, so our case will likely come out like the authority case" (or “our facts are different, so different result”). Do not use that exact language, I’m just giving the general idea, here.
After this spend the rest of your time writing. Polish a bit. You now have your conclusions, so go finalize your two-sentence intro and finalize your headings. Make sure you have addressed "the other side" for each issue, as appropriate. Do a quick re-read of the task memo, or your to-do list. Did you cover everything assigned? Time's up! and now it's time to submit!!