How To Format Legal Memos On The MPT
How To Format Legal Memos On The MPT: Too often we see students not put enough effort into preparing for the Multistate Performance Test portion of the bar exam. This is a mistake! In UBE jurisdictions, the MPT is still worth 20% of your final score! This means that there are a lot of points you can pick up here if you do well on this section! The MPT requires its own unique form of preparation, and thus it is important that you practice writing these before the exam.
How To Format Legal Memos On The MPT
One MPT task you might see is a legal memo. Perhaps the most common legal memo on the MPT is an objective memo, but you never know what other wild card task could be in that format as well! Thus it is very helpful to know how to format legal memos on the MPT! In this post, we give you some valuable tips on the best way to format legal memos on the MPT.
How to format legal memos on the MPT
The best piece of general advice when dealing with legal memos on the MPT is to follow the instructions in the task memo. This will tell you if there are any additional sections you need to add. But the basic format for legal memos on the MPT includes three sections: the introduction, the discussion, and the conclusion. It is not as complex as the memos you wrote in law school!
First, include your basic headers:
Re: [Title of MPT]
Then label your introduction. This section should just contain a short summary of what you are asked to discuss. Note the issue posed and briefly state what your conclusion is. You shouldn’t need more than 3-5 sentences! Remember, a statement of facts is not necessary in legal memos on the MPT unless your task memo tells you to include one. Generally, you are told to omit it.
Next comes the discussion section. This is the most important section in legal memos on the MPT as it is where you can pick up the most points. Each of your legal issues within your discussion section should be prefaced with a heading. These headings should alert the grader to which issue you are discussing. Most examinees use simpler headings (e.g., “Negligence issue.”). Including a brief heading ensures that the grader will see you have discussed all issues, even if they only skim the body paragraphs.
Feel free to use sub-headings within each of your overall headings! If the legal principle that you are discussing has multiple requirements that must be met, break the issue down into sub-headings! You want your legal memos on the MPT to be as organized as possible and you want to guide the grader directly to your conclusion. Make their job as easy as possible!
Finally, label your conclusion section. This should briefly summarize your discussion and how the law and facts has led you to your conclusion. Again, just a few sentences will suffice! Make sure that you do not skip this section! You want your legal memo on the MPT to look as complete as a real-life office memo would. Skipping this section would be a clear indication to the grader that you had a timing problem. Thus, make sure you at least get something down, and that it is consistent with your headings!
To summarize, here is an outline of a legal memo on the MPT that you can copy for your own use:
Re: [insert title of the MPT] (e.g., In re Harrison)
- Introduction: Several sentences briefly noting the purpose of the task and your conclusions
- Discussion: Create headings for each issue you discuss
III. Conclusion: Summarize your discussion and your findings
LAURA SIGLER, WHO GRADUATED MAGNA CUM LAUDE FROM WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL, IS A JD ADVISING LEGAL RESEARCHER AND ESSAY GRADER.
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