Thursday, May 25, 2023

MPT advice part 4: the magic word, "Here,"

This is part 4 in a series of posts with MPT advice. Last week we covered the rule statement in four parts.

If you have written your rule statement thoroughly, you will likely have given the facts, holding, and rationale from a case in the Library with a fact pattern similar to yours. You will have written a sentence that follows the pattern, “The court held ___________, because____________,” where the first blank states the court’s holding as to the issue you are writing about, and the second blank contains the facts the court relied on in reaching the holding.

After you have written your rule statement in four parts, hit return and start a new paragraph. That paragraph should always start with the magic word, “Here.” “Here,” is a magic word in legal writing, because it signals to every sophisticated consumer of legal writing (including bar graders!) that the writer is about to give their analysis. Bar graders

After the word “here,” tell what you think is going to happen in your fact pattern.For instance,

  • In an objective task, you might say, “Here, similar to [authority case], the court will likely find the defendants liable for noise nuisance.” Or,
  • In a persuasive task you might say, “Here, similar to the defendants in [authority case], the defendants are liable for treble damages.”

And then write a few sentences giving the facts from the File that are similar to the facts in the authority case. Be as specific as you can. So, if you are talking about the way your client, Ms. Jones, suffered, don't say, "The defendant's behavior upset Ms. Jones," but instead use the specific facts you are given, such as, "The defendant's behavior caused Ms. Jones to experience depression and anxiety, for which she sought treatment from a therapist. Ms. Jones lost 5 pounds over the course of two weeks, and is no longer able to sleep through the night." Be very specific when using the facts from your library. The MPT is testing your ability to identify and use relevant facts.

Essentially, you want to paint the picture that the court in the authority case came to a conclusion on the issue based on certain specific facts, and so a court in your case will or should come to that same conclusion because the facts are similar (or a court in your case will come to a different conclusion because your facts are different).


(Lisa DeLaTorre)

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