MPT Tasks – An Overview of the MPT Tasks you will see and How to Conquer Each One

one month until the bar examMPT Tasks – A quick overview of the MPT Tasks you will see – and how to conquer each one.

Most states that administer the bar exam administer the multistate performance test (or “MPT”). In this post, we briefly discuss what the MPT is composed of. Then we discuss the types of MPT tasks you will encounter on the MPT portion of the exam.

What is an “MPT”?

An MPT will have the following parts:

  • A task memo. This will tell you exactly what to do. You should read it right away in the beginning and constantly refer to it to make sure you are following instructions!
  • A file. This will contain various documents that show the facts of the case. It will sometimes have letters, deposition transcripts, client interviews, etc. Not all facts will be relevant and some documents may have facts that appear to contradict one another (just like in real life!)
  • A library. This will contain cases, statutes, or both with the relevant law that you need to answer the question. Not all law will be relevant. Your job is to pull out the important law, given the facts you are provided.

Types of MPT Tasks:

Here are the different types of MPT tasks you could encounter. We have ranked them from most to least popular. If you want to see when each MPT type was tested, you can find our MPT chart here.

Objective Memo:  

An exceedingly popular MPT task is the objective memorandum. It is generally addressed to a supervising attorney. The point is to be objective – that is, not to “advocate” for one side, but to point out both strengths and weaknesses of a case.

For an objective memo you will need:

  • Caption (to/from/date/matter)
  • Introduction
  • Discussion (with headings to discuss each issue)
  • Conclusion

Usually you are asked to omit a statement of facts. However, if the task memo instructs you to include one, then include one in about 5-7 sentences. For more detail on how to format an objective memo, see this post. For a breakdown on how to write an objective memo on the MPT, see this post.

Persuasive Brief:

Another very popular MPT task is the persuasive brief. This is meant to advocate for a client! Generally, you will want to only include a caption, statement of the case or statement of the facts if the instructions tell you. Otherwise, your format will look like this:

  • Legal argument (with headings to separate each argument)
  • Conclusion

You want to advocate here, so you should emphasize the facts from the library that weigh in your client’s favor. However, you should not gloss over “bad” facts – instead state why they are not relevant or why they are not so bad for your case. Read this post for more detail on how to format a persuasive brief on the MPT. If you struggle with the persuasive brief, we have tips on how to improve your persuasive brief here.

Letter:

A demand letter is the next most popular MPT task you will see (though it is nowhere near as popular as the persuasive brief or objective memo). If you are asked to write a demand letter, you will likely include the following structure:

  • Caption (e.g. who you are, the date, who you are sending the letter to)
  • Introductory Paragraph
  • Body of the Letter
    • Heading 1
    • Heading 2
    • Heading 3 . . .
  • Conclusion

For a demand letter, you want to be persuasive but not confrontational. Your conclusion should be very specific about what you are asking the recipient to do. Make sure your conclusion is consistent with the rest of your letter. For more information on how to form a demand letter on the MPT, see this post. For more demand letter tips, see this post.

Opinion Letter:

Next in line is the opinion letter. The opinion letter sometimes varies in terms of telling you what to do or how to format your letter. For example, the July 2015 MPT In re Bryan Carr asked examinees to advise the client regarding his legal obligation to pay for his relative’s charges on a credit card. Thus, facts relating to those charges are what you want to pay attention to.

This follows the same format as the demand letter as generally you will structure your letter as follows:

  • Caption (e.g. who you are, the date, who you are sending the letter to)
  • Introductory Paragraph
  • Body of the Letter
    • Heading 1
    • Heading 2
    • Heading 3 . . .
  • Conclusion

Read this post for more tips on how to write an opinion letter. And see an example of an opinion letter format here.

Unusual MPT Task

If you see an unusual task on the MPT – e.g. a bench memo (which was tested in February 2017 and July 2012 and you can read about the bench memo here if you are particularly worried about it coming up!), “leave behind” legislation, a complaint, closing argument, dispute resolution statement, etc. – take a deep breath!

The key to these tasks is to pay close attention to the task memo! It will tell you exactly what to do. The format may be slightly different than what you are used to but your general task will not be that different: that is, you will still have to carefully read the facts, use IRAC, and apply the law to the facts!

If you want to see when each “unusual” MPT type was tested, you can find our MPT chart here.

For more tips on what to do if you see an unusual task, see this post! To see all of our MPT resources, see these posts!

Additional Uniform Bar Exam Resources:

If you are looking for additional help to prepare for the Uniform Bar Exam, we offer the following resources:

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at your convenience.

Ashley Heidemann is the owner and founder of JD Advising. Ms. Heidemann scored over a 180 on the Michigan Bar Exam in February of 2011 after graduating as the #1 student in her law school class of over 200 students in 2011. She, as well as a team of others, offer bar exam courses, seminars, and private tutoring for bar exam students nationwide. This includes services for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and Michigan bar exam.  Please click here to contact her company, with any questions.

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