New York Portion
New York Portion: The first day is the New York portion, which consists of five essay questions and 50 multiple choice questions, prepared by the New York Board, and one Multistate Performance Test (MPT) question, developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
In the morning session, which begins at 9:00 A.M. and ends at 12:15 P.M., applicants must complete three essays and the 50 multiple choice questions in three hours and 15 minutes. Although applicants are free to use their time as they choose, the Board estimates an allocation of 40 minutes per essay and 1.5 minutes per multiple choice question.
In the afternoon session, which begins at 1:30 P.M. and ends at 4:30 P.M., applicants must complete the remaining two essay questions and the MPT in three hours. Again, although applicants are free to use their time as they choose, the National Conference of Bar Examiners developed the MPT with the intention that it be used as a 90-minute test. Therefore, the Board recommends that applicants allocate 90 minutes to the MPT and 45 minutes to each essay.
The New York portion is based on both procedural and substantive law. It may deal with the six subject matters covered on the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE)–Contracts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts (including statutory no-fault insurance provisions). In addition, the questions may deal with Business Relationships, Conflict of Laws, New York Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Family Law, Remedies, New York and Federal Civil Jurisdiction and Procedure, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills and Estates including Estate Taxation, and UCC Articles 2, 3, and 9. More than one subject is tested in a single essay question. Except for questions involving federal law, the New York essay and multiple choice questions are based on the law of New York.
Each essay question is designed to test the applicant’s ability to analyze a given set of facts, to identify the issues involved and the applicable principles of law, and to reason there from to a sound conclusion. An essay answer should show recognition of each issue presented by the material facts, discuss the principles of law applicable thereto and set forth the reasoning by which the conclusion has been reached. The answer should be clear and concise. It should be confined to the particular issues presented and should not include information that is not responsive to the question. Appropriate credit is given in the grading of essay answers for well reasoned analyses of the issues and legal principles involved even though the final conclusion itself may be incorrect.
The New York multiple choice questions require the applicant to select the correct answer from among four stated alternatives, of which only one is correct.
The MPT, developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, is a 90 minute question which requires candidates to complete an assigned task using resource materials they are given. The task is described in a memorandum from a supervising attorney and may include the preparation of a brief in support of a motion, a memorandum evaluating grounds for objecting to the probate of a will, a simple complaint or some other legal document. The assignment may raise an ethical issue as well. Candidates will be provided with a ‘file’, containing source documents from which candidates must glean the facts of the matter, and with a ‘library,’ containing cases, statutes or regulations.
Multistate Bar Examination Portion
The second day of the examination, the MBE portion, consists of 200 multiple choice questions prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and is given on the same day in more than 45 other jurisdictions. It is given in two three-hour sessions, from 9 AM to 12 noon and 1:30 to 4:30 PM.
Of the 200 questions, 34 each are in Contracts and Torts, and 33 each in Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Evidence and Real Property. Each question consists of a statement of facts followed by four stated alternative answers and the applicant is required to choose the best of the stated alternatives. Except where otherwise noted, all questions must be answered according to the generally accepted view, as distinguished from any contrary local view that may be followed in New York. The questions on evidence are based primarily on the Federal Rules of Evidence, which are controlling as against any contrary law in New York. The MBE is more fully described in a bulletin of information published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners in conjunction with American College Testing. Copies of that bulletin are provided to New York applicants upon receipt of their applications to take the examination.
Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE)
No applicant can be admitted to the Bar in New York without successfully completing both the New York State bar examination and the MPRE. The MPRE can be taken before or after the bar examination. The MPRE passing score is set by the individual jurisdictions requiring that examination. In New York, any applicant who took the MPRE prior to 2002 and attained a scaled score of 72 will be considered as having met the requirement. Commencing with the March 2002 MPRE, the passing score in New York is a scaled score of 85.
Since October 1994, Section 520.12 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals has required applicants to file the materials required for admission to the Bar within three years from the date of the initial letter sent by the Board of Law Examiners notifying the applicant of having passed the bar examination. Thus, any applicant who has not taken and passed the MPRE at the time of receipt of notification of having passed the bar examination must pass the MPRE and be certified by the Board to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division within three years.
The MPRE is administered three times each year, in March, August and November.
The Board receives MPRE scores electronically, and matches them to our applicant files by Social Security Number and date of birth. Therefore, if there is an error in your Social Security Number on your MPRE score report, or if you do not have a Social Security Number and were assigned an identification number by the administrators of the MPRE, you should include that information when you make application to take the New York bar examination. This will enable us to match up your scores manually, and avoid any delay in certification if you are successful on the bar examination. Do not notify us prior to making application for the bar examination, since we do not have any means of storing such information until an application is received.