General Information The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is assembled and administered by ACT, Inc., on behalf of the National Conference of Bar Examiners as partial fulfillment of the requirements for application for admission to practice law in jurisdictions that require the MPRE. The examination is administered three times per year at established test centers across the country.
The current test specifications for the MPRE were adopted in 2008. The MPRE is based on the law governing the conduct of lawyers, including the disciplinary rules of professional conduct currently articulated in the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the ABA Code of Judicial Conduct, as well as controlling constitutional decisions and generally accepted principles established in leading federal and state cases and in procedural and evidentiary rules.
The MPRE consists of 60 multiple-choice test items. These test items are followed by 10 Test Center Review items that request the examinee's reactions to the testing conditions. The examination is two hours and five minutes in length.
What are the test dates for the MPRE?
* Tests are usually on Fridays or Saturdays
* For most current test dates, please check the official NCBE website.
* Examinees must be present at 9 a.m. on test day.
Online registration must be received before 12:00 midnight Central Time on the published deadline date.
Paper applications must be received in the MPRE Application Department in Iowa City by 5:00 p.m. Central Time on the published deadline date.
If religious beliefs preclude an applicant from taking the examination on Saturday, applicant may apply to take the MPRE on the following day, Sunday, in the afternoon. For more information, go to the MPRE Religious Beliefs section of the website.
What is the purpose of the MPRE? The purpose of the NCBE Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) is to measure the examinee's knowledge and understanding of established standards related to a lawyer's professional conduct; thus, the MPRE is not a test to determine an individual's personal ethical values. Lawyers serve in many capacities: for example, as judges, as advocates, counselors, and in other roles. The law governing the conduct of lawyers in these roles is applied in disciplinary and bar admission procedures, and by courts in dealing with issues of appearance, representation, privilege, disqualification, contempt or other censure, and in lawsuits seeking to establish liability for malpractice, and other civil or criminal wrongs committed by a lawyer while acting in a professional capacity.
The law governing the conduct of lawyers is based on the disciplinary rules of professional conduct currently articulated in the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, as well as controlling constitutional decisions and generally accepted principles established in leading federal and state cases and in procedural and evidentiary rules.
The MPRE is developed by a six-member Drafting Committee comprised of recognized experts in the area of professional responsibility. Before a test item is selected for inclusion in the MPRE, it undergoes a multistage review process that occurs over the course of several years before the test is administered. Besides intensive reviews by the Drafting Committee and testing specialists, each test item is reviewed by other national and state experts. All test items must successfully pass all reviews before they are included in the MPRE. After an MPRE examination is administered, the statistical performance of each test item is reviewed and evaluated by content and testing experts before the items are included in the computation of examinees' scores. This final statistical review is conducted to ensure that each test item is accurate and psychometrically sound.
What is the format of the MPRE? The MPRE consists of 60 multiple-choice test items. These test items are followed by 10 Test Center Review items that request the examinee's reactions to the testing conditions. The examination is two hours and five minutes in length. Test items covering judicial ethics measure applications of the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct (CJC). Other items will deal with discipline of lawyers by state disciplinary authorities; in these items, the correct answer will be governed by the current ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC). The remaining items, outside the disciplinary context, are designed to measure an understanding of the generally accepted rules, principles, and common law regulating the legal profession in the United States; in these items, the correct answer will be governed by the view reflected in a majority of cases, statutes, or regulations on the subject. To the extent that questions of professional responsibility arise in the context of procedural or evidentiary issues, such as the availability of litigation sanctions or the scope of the attorney-client evidentiary privilege, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence will be assumed to apply, unless otherwise stated.
As a general rule, particular local statutes or rules of court will not be tested in the MPRE. However, a specific test question may include the text of a local statute or rule that must be considered when answering that question. Amendments to the MRPC or CJC will be reflected in the examination no earlier than one year after the approval of the mendments by the American Bar Association.
Each question contained in the MPRE provides a factual situation along with a specific question and four possible answer choices. Examinees should pick the best answer from the four possible answer choices. Each question may include, among others, one of the following key words or phrases:
1. Subject to discipline asks whether the conduct described in the question would subject the lawyer to discipline under the provisions of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. In the case of a judge, the test questions also asks whether the judge would be subject to discipline under the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct
2. May or proper asks whether the conduct referred to or described in the question is professionally appropriate in that it:
- would not subject the lawyer or judge to discipline; and
- is not inconsistent with the Preamble, Comments, or text of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct or the ABA Code of Judicial Conduct; and
- is not inconsistent with generally accepted principles of the law of lawyering.
- is subject to litigation sanction asks whether the conduct described in the question would subject the lawyer or the lawyer's law firm to sanction by a tribunal such as contempt, fine, fee forfeiture, disqualification, or other sanction.
3. Subject to disqualification asks whether the conduct described in the question would subject the lawyer or the lawyer's law firm to disqualification as counsel in a civil or criminal matter.
4. Subject to civil liability asks whether the conduct described in the question would subject the lawyer or the lawyer's law firm to civil liability, such as claims arising from malpractice, misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty.
5. Subject to criminal liability asks whether the conduct described in the question would subject the lawyer to criminal liability for participation in, or aiding and abetting criminal acts, such as prosecution for insurance and tax fraud, destruction of evidence, or obstruction of justice.
When a question refers to discipline by the "bar," "state bar," or "appropriate disciplinary authority," it refers to the agency in the jurisdiction with the authority to administer the standards for admission to practice and for maintenance of professional competence and integrity. Whenever a lawyer is identified as a "certified specialist," that lawyer has been so certified by the appropriate agency in the jurisdiction in which the lawyer practices.
The following jurisdictions have adopted the MPRE:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Virgin Islands
- West Virginia